Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

  • By day the “Bible God” was in a cloud pillar.
  • By night the “Bible God” was in a fire pillar.

Volcano deity

“A volcano deity is a deification of a volcano, including:

Nature deity

“In nature worship, a nature deity is a deity in charge of forces of nature, such as a water deity, vegetation deity, sky deity, solar deity, fire deity, or any other naturally occurring phenomena such as mountains, trees, or volcanoes. Accepted in panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism, shamanism, and paganism, the deity embodies natural forces and can have various characteristics, such as that of a mother goddess, “Mother Nature“, or lord of the animals.” ref

Volcano Gods?

VOLCANO GODS……and their commonalities…..


Pagan Volcano Gods

Anganju‘s significance in Cuba in the past is most probably due in part to the fact that he was said to have delivered people out of bondage and helped one to carry the heaviest of burdens.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“When the gods seem restless, believers make offerings of vegetables, money, chickens, and even goats to appease them as well as to bring prosperity. Oldoinyo Lengai is also a holy mountain for the Maasai people, just like Namibia’s Ovahimba people believe in their holy fire. He said the Maasai people use the mountain as a site to conduct rituals such as sacrifices and prayers.” ref

“The (Inca) children were sacrificed as part of a religious ritual, known as capacocha. They walked hundreds of miles to and from ceremonies in Cuzco and were then taken to the summit of Llullaillaco (yoo-yeye-YAH-co), given chicha (maize beer), and, once they were asleep, placed in underground niches, where they froze to death. Only beautiful, healthy, physically perfect children were sacrificed, and it was an honor to be chosen. According to Inca beliefs, the children did not die, but joined their ancestors and watched over their villages from the mountaintops like angels.” ref

“The name “Fuji” most likely derives from an Ainu word meaning “fire” or “deity of fire”. The Japanese believed that the god was very powerful, so it needed to be placated. A shrine was built at the foot of the volcano in AD 806 in order to keep the mountain from erupting. Masaya (Mayan volcano god). The Chorotega people used to sacrifice virgins by throwing them into the volcano, hoping that the Goddess would provide divine oracles in return for the sacrifice.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

If the offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, he is to offer a dove or a young pigeon. Leviticus 1:14″ ref


Monadalkni flew into a rage and called down the Curse of Fire. The top of Moy-Yaina exploded. Five great bursts sent ash, boulders, and fire high into the sky. A devastating flood of flame and hot stones swept across the forests. Gmok’am’c, the Good Chief who made his dwelling on Mt. Shasta, heard their prayers and was moved by their sacrifice. He came down to battle the Chief of the World Below. The battle was terrible. The two mountains threw fire and rocks at each other. At last, the Good Chief thrust Monadalkni under Moy-Yaina, jamming debris down the entrance to the underworld to seal it.” ref

Christians of Europe saw Hekla as a doorway to the underworld and as one of two known entrances to Hell or Purgatory. When people would see lava bombs and other projectiles fly from the volcanoes crater, they believed the fragments were actually spirits. These bombs often hissed as they flew (due to the cooler temperature of the air) and these noises were interpreted as the souls screaming out in pain. Because Hekla was associated with the underworld, people abroad also thought that it was a meeting place for witches and magicians, and patrons of dark magic. Still, others saw Iceland’s jagged lava flows and rugged mountains as an ancient battlefield. It was on this battlefield where immortal gods had once waged war against one another. As they fought, they had shaped the land with blows of fists and swords. Nearly every myth and legend about the volcano is in some way connected to evil and the demonic.” ref

The Klamath Indians of the Pacific Northwest tell a legend about a fight between two chiefs. Llao was the chief of the Below World and was at Mount Mazama in Oregon. Skell was the chief of the Above World and stood at the summit of Mount Shasta in northern California. The two mountains are only a hundred miles apart. As darkness covered the land the two chiefs threw rocks and flames at each other. Llao, injured, fell back inside of Mount Mazama and was never seen again.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“They believe that when it expels hot lava, Merapi is really sending golden carriages to the South Sea, the kingdom of Nyai Ratu Kidul (Queen of the South Sea), for the feast. However, he (Agni) is feared by nature. When he gets angry he can burn trees with his fire and burns the grass with his chariot’s wheels while raging thru the forest.” ref

Pele is a skilled rider of the holua, a wooden sled that slides down steep stone ramps. Papalauahi and other chiefs challenged Pele to see who was the best holua rider. Papalauahi proved by far to be the most skilled. Pele lost her temper. She produced a great flood of lava which overran many of the other chiefs and onlookers.” ref

“MOUNT Cameroon, also called Mount Fako, also called Buea Mountain but most fondly called “The chariot of the gods” is the only mountain in Cameroon which has also been recorded as a volcanic mountain, with a horrifying eruption record Cameroonians have been trying to erase from memory for over 10 years. Mount Fako is believed to be guarded against erupting again by a man-eater god named Epasa Moto. Efasa-Moto is the folkloric god of the Fako Mountain.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

Isaiah 66:15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

Psalm 104:3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. 

Jeremiah 4:13 Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined!ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“According to Javanese culture expert Suryanto Sastroatmodjo, in Javanese culture, a volcano occupies an important position. It is also referred to as the Sang Hyang Dahana Giri, a representation of the possessor of the universe, God the Almighty.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan – the blacksmith of the Roman gods. When Hephaestus got angry he would heat up his furnace until the volcanoes would erupt.  When he works, sparks and flames fly out of the volcanoes that he works in.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

1 Kings 8:51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron.

Deut. 4.11, 12 and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“Goddess Pele was and still is famous for the different forms she can be and for the fiery rage she would go into when her temper got high. Some Hawaiians believe that Pele can cause earthquakes by stamping her feet and volcanic eruptions by striking the ground with a stick. The chain of volcanoes in Hawaii were formed when Pele and her older sister Namakaokahai had a fight.” ref

Mt. Fuji is the source of many myths, underscoring its importance in Japanese society; it has been the home of multiple deities, including the goddess Sengen, also known as the Goddess of Fuji, whose temple was once said to reside on the summit of the mountain (1). In the days of religious pilgrimages to Mt. Fuji, it is said that Sengen would throw from the mountain any pilgrims that were impure of heart (1).” ref

“Many interpret an eruption on Merapi as a sign that the volcano deity has been disrespected by improper behavior or thought. He said when the mountain (Oldoinyo Lengai) erupts the Maasai people believe that their God is angry and they have to go to the mountain to placate him with prayers. The Klamath stories say that quarrels began, and war broke out between Llao and Skell. of Mount Mazama.” ref

There are two myths involving the recent eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. One of these legends blames the eruption on the people of Te Ariki village for eating forbidden honey. Those in the village that ate the honey were killed, while people in nearby villages who did not eat it were allowed to live.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

Lamentations 4:11 The LORD has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.

Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

Hebrews 12:29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Exodus 15:7 In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.

Psalm 97:3 Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side.

Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Numbers 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Psalm 78:49 He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation, and hostility–a band of destroying angels.ref


Konohana Sakuya Hime, Goddess of Mt. Fuji …There special ceremonies celebrate her miraculous pregnancy and the birth of her son in the midst of a fire.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

Pompeii – Casa de Centenario

“At the center of each patio, families built small shrines consisting of mountains modeled from clay, stone, and potsherds crowned with crudely carved heads humans, or serpents. Some are clearly effigies of Popocatépetl. Beneath each carved stone head is a chimney that leads to a charcoal-filled chamber dug in the patio floor. Smoke would have puffed out from under each head in imitation of the ash and vapor plumes expelled from the crater during volcanic activity.  The most fascinating part of Sahagún’s account is that the mountain models are given human faces. In fact, the Spanish text indicates that each mountain was given two faces, one human and one serpent.” ref

“Behaviors attributed to Wy’east include hurtling of hot rocks from gaping holes, sending forth streams of liquid fire, loss of formerly high summits, and choking of valleys with rocks. (Aztecs) In fact, the Spanish text indicates that each mountain was given two faces, one human and one serpent. The dual nature of the mountains described in the Florentine Codex recalls the human and serpent images that crown the volcano effigies of the village shrines and suggests a conceptual continuity that spans some 1,500 years.” ref

“Because Erciyes was always snow-covered, the Hittites (second millennium to 1200 BCE) called it “Harkasos” or “White Mountain.” The Hittite pantheon included a number of mountain gods, including Erciyes. From the region of Imamkulu in Cappadocia, a 1300 BCE Hittite rock carving depicting a storm god above three mountain gods, furnishes proof of the Hittite veneration of Cappadocian volcanoes. A Hittite bas-relief from Malatya dating from 1000 BCE portrays the weather god (prototype of Zeus) slaying a coiled serpent. Flames and volcanic bombs issue from the serpent’s body, which might symbolize volcanoes.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

Daniel 7:10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“The most fascinating part of Sahagún’s account (on Popocatepetl) is that the mountain models are given human faces. In fact, the Spanish text indicates that each mountain was given two faces, one human and one serpent. The Gikuyu people believe their god, Ngai or Mwene Nvaga, lived on the top of Mount Kenya when he came down from the sky. They believed the mountain is the earthly throne of their god. The father of the tribe, Gikuyu, was said to meet with god on the top of the mountain. Source.” ref

The farmers who live on the flanks of Popocatépetl today see the volcano in human terms.

A male being with long wavy hair, (Popocatepetl) thought by some to represent the smoke tendrils that unfurl from the crater.

In 1993, the carbonatite has extruded forming the white top of Oldoinyo Lengai and this white peak in the heart of the Maasailand is thought to represent the beard of the Maasai God, which is why the Maasai people call it the Mountain of God (Oldoinyo Lengai is the world’s only active volcano).

THE OUREA were the Protogenoi (primeval gods) or rustic Daimones (spirits) of the mountains. Each and every Mountain was said to have its own ancient bearded god. Mountains were occasionally depicted in classical art as bearded old men rising up from between their craggy peaks.

Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire. Pele had long thin strands of hair – which are supposed to represent the very runny lava produced by the volcano Kilauea, where she lives.

They made the images of each one of them in human form, from the dough which is called tzoalli, and they laid offerings before these images in veneration of these same mountains.” The most fascinating part of Sahagún’s account is that the mountain models are given human faces. (Aztec Popocatépetl). The farmers who live on the flanks of Popocatépetl today see the volcano in human terms. To them he is Gregorio. Since the eruption, the name Don Gregorio and the nickname Don Goyo have come into general usage. A male being with long wavy hair, thought by some to represent the smoke tendrils that unfurl from the crater.

Masaya (Mayan volcano god) is depicted as an old crone with black skin, drooping breasts, and white wispy hair, similar to the gases that rise from the volcano in Nicaragua that is named for her.

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

Isaiah 30:27 See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.

Isaiag 30:30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.

PSA 18:8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

Daniel 7:9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

Revelation 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; :15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“Tradition requires that he (Popocatepetl) be venerated with offerings placed in sacred caves high on the slopes of the mountain. The poet Virgil claimed that Mount Etna, in Sicily, is the place where the gods buried the giant Enceladus. (Aztec Popocatépetl). Tradition requires that he be venerated with offerings placed in sacred caves high on the slopes of the mountain, an example of the general Mesoamerican metaphor of caves on mountains and temples on pyramids.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

Popocatapetl was a warrior who fell in love with Iztaccihuatl (they were two adjacent volcanoes). Iztaccihuatl’s father, however, did not favor the match and sent Popocatapetl to war, promising Iztaccihuatl as his bride when he returned. Iztaccihuatl’s father lied to her and told her that Popocatapetl was dead, and she died from grief. When Popocatapetl returned to find his love dead, he carried her up to the top of a mountain and climbed to the top of an adjacent mountain, carrying a torch to keep watch over her. As time passed, snow-covered the lovers and formed the two mountains Iztaccihuatl (which resembles a woman lying on her side) and Popocatapetl. Popocatepetl’s torch smokes to this day. Another tale tells the story of a quarrel between Pele and her older sister Namakaokahai, which led to the creation of the volcanic Hawaiian islands.” ref

“Filipino legend has it that the moon god, Apung Mallari, angered the sun god, Apung Suku. Apung Suku flung boulders at Apung Mallari’s home, Mt Pinatubo. Apung Mallari’s daughter tried to stop her uncle from destroying her home, but was struck down by a boulder. In grief and despair, Apung Mallari hid himself deep inside Mt Pinatubo, never to be heard from again until the day of June 15, 1991, when Mt Pinatubo erupted catastrophically.” ref

Legend has it that the great Tengger Crater was dug out with just half a coconut shell by an ogre smitten with love for a princess. When the king saw that the ogre might fulfill the task he had set, which was to be completed in a single night, he ordered his servants to pound rice. This caused the cocks to start crowing, thinking the dawn had broken. The coconut that the ogre flung away became Gunung Batok, and the trench became the Sand Sea – and the ogre died of exhaustion.” ref

In another myth, the volcanoes Tongariro, Taranaki, and Ruapehu were all giants. Taranaki and Ruapehu fell in love with Tongariro and proceeded to fight for her. Taranaki threw himself at Ruapehu, but Ruapehu sprayed scalding water from his lake one Taranaki. In retaliation, Taranaki threw stones at Ruapehu destroying his once beautiful summit. Ruapehu was able to swallow the fragments of his cone, melt them, and spit them back at Taranaki. Taranaki retreated up the coast to where he lives now, plotting his revenge (Vitaliano, 1973). The Maoris also have a legend involving two extinct volcanic cones made of basalt named Kakepuku and Kawa. Kakepuku loved Kawa but had to fight several opponents in order to win her over.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano Gods ‘Yahweh’

“According to a British theologian, who says the Almighty, also known as ‘Yahweh’, had a wife – a goddess named ‘Asherah’. J. Edward Wright, president of The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and The Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, supported Stavrakopoulou’s findings, saying several Hebrew inscriptions mention Yahweh and his Asherah.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

The Koryak believe that creation began when the great raven swooped over the sea and dropped a feather, thus creating Kamchatka. Once he established land he created men to inhabit his creation. After some time Kutkh created a woman and placed her within the land for the men to continue creation. She was very beautiful and all of the men fell in love with her, desiring her affection deeply. As the men died they became mountains, turning the originally flat land into mountains. The mountains turned to volcanoes as the hearts of the men with in each mountain still burnt with fiery love for the woman. It is the hearts of these original men that created the mountains, which shaped the peninsula into what it is today.” ref

The creation of Mt. Fuji is itself a matter of legend in Japan – the tale goes that the mountain was born in a single day. The Modoc Indians of northern California have lived in the area a long time and have seen the volcano erupt. Their oral tradition explains how the volcano formed. The Chief of the Sky Spirits was cold in the Above World. One day he used a rotating stone to drill a hole in the sky. Once the hole was finished he pushed in snow and ice. The snow and ice piled up and almost reached the sky. Then, the Chief of the Sky Spirits stepped down to the Earth. He created the trees, rivers, animals, fish, and birds.” ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“The Balinese sleep with their heads toward nearby volcanoes. And when the residents of Flores, the Nage, die they’re usually buried with their feet pointing in the direction of the ocean and their head toward Mount Ebulobo.” ref

Abrahamic Volcano God ‘Yahweh’

The deceased is laid in the grave (without a coffin if permitted by local law) on his or her right side, facing MeccaSource. The traditional Christian method of positioning the coffin or shroud-covered body in the grave was to have the body with the head to the west, feet to the east. The body was placed face up. When it was not practical to use the west-east position for the grave, a north-south positioning was the next best option. There the body would then be laid on its side, head to the north and facing east. Source. Jews are buried facing – that is, with toes facing – Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Source.” ref


The Ancient Egyptians buried their dead in tombs in the hills.ref


Pagan Volcano Gods

“A number of taboos also surround Merapi. One includes a prohibition on mentioning the volcano by name. Locals believe that to do so could bring them bad luck. When referring to Mt. Merapi they, therefore, prefer to use the words “”Si Mbah“” instead. Si Mbah means “”elderly person”” or “”respected figure””, used for the volcano as an expression of respect.
For a long time, they kept Giiwaas — their name for Crater Lake — a secret, fearing and revering it, visiting it only for spirit quests.” ref

There are some modern scholars who have suggested that the elements seen in the Ten Commandments were likely modeled on Hittite and Mesopotamian laws as well as treaties. in the Ten Commandments were likely modeled on Hittite and Mesopotamian laws as well as treaties.

Ten Commandments

“The Ten Commandments (Hebrew: עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת‎, Aseret ha’Dibrot; Arabic: وصايا عشر‎, Alwasaya Aleashr), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity. The text of the Ten Commandments appears twice in the Hebrew Bible: at Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21. Scholars disagree about when the Ten Commandments were written and by whom, with some modern scholars suggesting that the Ten Commandments were likely modeled on Hittite and Mesopotamian laws and treaties. According to the book of Exodus in the Torah, the Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai. In Biblical Hebrew, the Ten Commandments, called עשרת הדיברות‎ (transliterated aseret ha-dibrot), are mentioned at Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13 and Deuteronomy 10:4. In all sources, the terms are translatable as “the ten words”, “the ten sayings”, or “the ten matters”.” ref

“In the Septuagint (or LXX), the “ten words” was translated as “Decalogue”, which is derived from Greek δεκάλογος, dekalogos, the latter meaning and referring to the Greek translation (in accusative) δέκα λόγους, deka logous. This term is also sometimes used in English, in addition to the Ten Commandments. The Tyndale and Coverdale English biblical translations used “ten verses”. The Geneva Bible used “ten commandments”, which was followed by the Bishops’ Bible and the Authorized Version (the “King James” version) as “ten commandments”. Most major English versions use the word “commandments”. The stone tablets, as opposed to the ten commandments inscribed on them, are called לוחות הברית‎, Lukhot HaBrit, meaning “the tablets of the covenant“.” ref

“The biblical narrative of the revelation at Sinai begins in Exodus 19 after the arrival of the children of Israel at Mount Sinai (also called Horeb). On the morning of the third day of their encampment, “there were thunders and flashes of lightning and a thick cloud upon the mountain hat we all climbed up on, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud”, and the people assembled at the base of the mount. After “the LORD came down upon mount Sinai”, Moses went up briefly and returned with stone tablets and prepared the people, and then in Exodus 20 “God spoke” to all the people the words of the covenant, that is, the “ten commandments” as it is written. Modern biblical scholarship differs as to whether Exodus 19–20 describes the people of Israel as having directly heard all or some of the decalogue, or whether the laws are only passed to them through Moses.” ref

“The people were afraid to hear more and moved “afar off”, and Moses responded with “Fear not.” Nevertheless, he drew near the “thick darkness” where “the presence of the Lord” was to hear the additional statutes and “judgments”, all which he “wrote” in the “book of the covenant” which he read to the people the next morning, and they agreed to be obedient and do all that the LORD had said. Moses escorted a select group consisting of Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and “seventy of the elders of Israel” to a location on the mount where they worshipped “afar off” and they “saw the God of Israel” above a “paved work” like clear sapphire stone.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tablets of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.— First mention of the tablets in Exodus 24:12–13.” ref

“The mount was covered by the cloud for six days, and on the seventh day Moses went into the midst of the cloud and was “in the mount forty days and forty nights.” And Moses said, “the LORD delivered unto me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.” Before the full forty days expired, the children of Israel collectively decided that something had happened to Moses, and compelled Aaron to fashion a golden calf, and he “built an altar before it” and the people “worshipped” the calf.” ref

“After the full forty days, Moses and Joshua came down from the mountain with the tablets of stone: “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” After the events in chapters 32 and 33, the LORD told Moses, “Hew thee two tablets of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tablets the words that were in the first tablets, which thou brakest.” “And he wrote on the tablets, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.” These tablets were later placed in the ark of the covenant.” ref


“Though both the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls show the passages of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 divided into ten specific commandments with spaces between them, many Modern English Bible translations give the appearance of more than ten imperative statements in each passage. Different religious traditions divide the seventeen verses of Exodus 20:1–17 and their parallels in Deuteronomy 5:4–21 into ten commandments in different ways, shown in the table below. Some suggest that the number ten is a choice to aid memorization rather than a matter of theology.” ref


Further information: Law given to Moses at Sinai

“The Ten Commandments form the basis of Jewish law,[60] stating God’s universal and timeless standard of right and wrong – unlike the rest of the 613 commandments in the Torah, which include, for example, various duties and ceremonies such as the kashrut dietary laws, and now unobservable rituals to be performed by priests in the Holy Temple. Jewish tradition considers the Ten Commandments the theological basis for the rest of the commandments. Philo, in his four-book work The Special Laws, treated the Ten Commandments as headings under which he discussed other related commandments. Similarly, in The Decalogue he stated that “under [the “commandment… against adulterers”] many other commands are conveyed by implication, such as that against seducers, that against practisers of unnatural crimes, that against all who live in debauchery, that against all men who indulge in illicit and incontinent connections.” Others, such as Rabbi Saadia Gaon, have also made groupings of the commandments according to their links with the Ten Commandments.” ref

“According to Conservative Rabbi Louis Ginzberg, Ten Commandments are virtually entwined, in that the breaking of one leads to the breaking of another. Echoing an earlier rabbinic comment found in the commentary of Rashi to the Songs of Songs (4:5) Ginzberg explained—there is also a great bond of union between the first five commandments and the last five. The first commandment: “I am the Lord, thy God,” corresponds to the sixth: “Thou shalt not kill,” for the murderer slays the image of God. The second: “Thou shalt have no strange gods before me,” corresponds to the seventh: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” for conjugal faithlessness is as grave a sin as idolatry, which is faithlessness to God. The third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain,” corresponds to the eighth: “Thou shalt not steal,” for stealing results in a false oath in God’s name. The fourth: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” corresponds to the ninth: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” for he who bears false witness against his neighbor commits as grave a sin as if he had borne false witness against God, saying that He had not created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day (the holy Sabbath). The fifth commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother,” corresponds to the tenth: “Covet not thy neighbor’s wife,” for one who indulges this lust produces children who will not honor their true father, but will consider a stranger their father.” ref

“The traditional Rabbinical Jewish belief is that the observance of these commandments and the other mitzvot are required solely of the Jewish people and that the laws incumbent on humanity, in general, are outlined in the seven Noahide laws, several of which overlap with the Ten Commandments. In the era of the Sanhedrin transgressing any one of six of the Ten Commandments theoretically carried the death penalty, the exceptions being the First Commandment, honoring your father and mother, saying God’s name in vain, and coveting, though this was rarely enforced due to a large number of stringent evidentiary requirements imposed by the oral law.” ref

Two tablets

Main article: Tablets of Stone

“The arrangement of the commandments on the two tablets is interpreted in different ways in the classical Jewish tradition. Rabbi Hanina ben Gamaliel says that each tablet contained five commandments, “but the Sages say ten on one tablet and ten on the other”, that is, that the tablets were duplicates. This can be compared to diplomatic treaties of the ancient Near East, in which a copy was made for each party. According to the Talmud, the compendium of traditional Rabbinic Jewish law, tradition, and interpretation, one interpretation of the biblical verse “the tablets were written on both their sides”, is that the carving went through the full thickness of the tablets, yet was miraculously legible from both sides.” ref


“Hebron is a Palestinian city in the southern West Bank, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies 930 meters (3,050 ft) above sea level. The name “Hebron” appears to trace back to two Semitic roots, which coalesce in the form ḥbr, having reflexes in Hebrew and Amorite, with a basic sense of ‘unite’ and connoting a range of meanings from “colleague” to “friend”. In the proper name Hebron, the original sense may have been alliance. The Arabic term derives from the Qur’anic epithet for Abraham, Khalil al-Rahman (إبراهيم خليل الرحمن) “Beloved of the Merciful” or “Friend of God”. Arabic Al-Khalil thus precisely translates the ancient Hebrew toponym Ḥebron, understood as ḥaber (friend).” ref

Bronze Age

“Archaeological excavations reveal traces of strong fortifications dated to the Early Bronze Age, covering some 24–30 dunams centered around Tel Rumeida. The city flourished in the 17th–18th centuries BCE before being destroyed by fire, and was resettled in the late Middle Bronze Age. This older Hebron was originally a Canaanite royal city. Abrahamic legend associates the city with the Hittites. It has been conjectured that Hebron might have been the capital of Shuwardata of Gath, an Indo-European (Canaanite) contemporary of Jerusalem’s regent, Abdi-Kheba, although the Hebron hills were almost devoid of settlements in the Late Bronze Age. The Abrahamic traditions associated with Hebron are nomadic. This may also reflect a Kenite element, since the nomadic Kenites are said to have long occupied the city, and Heber is the name for a Kenite clan.” ref

“In the narrative of the later Hebrew conquest, Hebron was one of two centers under Canaanite control. They were ruled by the three sons of Anak (benê/yelîdê hā’ănaq). or may reflect some Kenite and Kenizzite migration from the Negev to Hebron, since terms related to the Kenizzites appear to be close to Hurrian. This suggests that behind the Anakim legend lies some early Hurrian population. In Biblical lore, they are represented as descendants of the Nephilim. The Book of Genesis mentions that it was formerly called Kirjath-arba, or “city of four”, possibly referring to the four pairs or couples who were buried there, or four tribes, or four quarters, four hills, or a confederated settlement of four families. The story of Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs from the Hittites constitutes a seminal element in what was to become the Jewish attachment to the land in that it signified the first “real estate” of Israel long before the conquest under Joshua. In settling here, Abraham is described as making his first covenant, an alliance with two local Amorite clans who became his ba’alei brit or masters of the covenant.” ref

Iron Age

The Hebron of the Israelites was centered on what is now known as Tel Rumeida, while its ritual center was located at Elonei Mamre.” ref

Hebrew Bible narrative

Samson removes gates of Gaza and brings them to Mount Hebron. Strassburg (1160–1170), Württemberg State Museum in Stuttgart. It is said to have been wrested from the Canaanites by either Joshua, who is said to have wiped out all of its previous inhabitants, “destroying everything that drew breath, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded”, or the tribe of Judah as a whole, or specifically Caleb the Judahite. The town itself, with some contiguous pasture land, is then said to have been granted to the Levites of the clan of Kohath, while the fields of the city, as well as its surrounding villages, were assigned to Caleb (Joshua 21:3–12; 1 Chronicles 6:54–56),[48] who expels the three giants, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, who ruled the city. Later, the biblical narrative has King David called by God to relocate to Hebron and reign from there for some seven years (2 Samuel 2:1–3).[49] It is there that the elders of Israel come to him to make a covenant before Elohim and anoint him king of Israel.[50] It was in Hebron again that Absalom has himself declared king and then raises a revolt against his father David (2 Samuel 15:7–10). It became one of the principal centers of the Tribe of Judah and was classified as one of the six traditional Cities of Refuge.” ref


“As is shown by the discovery at Lachish, the second most important Judean city after Jerusalem, of seals with the inscription lmlk Hebron (to the king Hebron), Hebron continued to constitute an important local economic centre, given its strategic position on the crossroads between the Dead Sea to the east, Jerusalem to the north, the Negev and Egypt to the south, and the Shepelah and the coastal plain to the west. Lying along trading routes, it remained administratively and politically dependent on Jerusalem for this period.” ref

“After the destruction of the First Temple, most of the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron were exiled, and according to the conventional view, some researchers found traces of Edomite presence after the 5th–4th centuries BCE, as the area became Achaemenid province, and, in the wake of Alexander the Great‘s conquest, Hebron was throughout the Hellenistic period under the influence of Idumea (as the new area inhabited by the Edomites was called during the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods), as is attested by inscriptions for that period bearing names with the Edomite God Qōs. Jews also appear to have lived there after the return from the Babylonian exile (Nehemiah 11:25). During the Maccabean revolt, Hebron was burnt and plundered by Judah Maccabee who fought against the Edomites in 167 BCE. The city appears to have long resisted Hasmonean dominance, however, and indeed as late as the First Jewish–Roman War was still considered Idumean. The present-day city of Hebron was settled in the valley downhill from Tel Rumeida at the latest by Roman times.” ref

Abraham’s family lived in Haran/Harran (Genesis 11:26–28)

“Abraham is told to leave his country and his people with ties to Sumeria region of Mesopotamia, so God could make him into a new nation, the eventual Israelites. His famaly are said to live in Haran, which is almost universally identified with Harran, a city whose ruins lie within present-day Turkey. Haran first appears in the Book of Genesis as the home of Terah father of Abraham, and as Abraham‘s temporary home. Most of what is told about Terah is recorded in Genesis 11:26–28.” ref

Abraham’s Wife Died

“Sarah died, and Abraham buried her in the Cave of the Patriarchs (the “cave of Machpelah”), near Hebron which he had purchased along with the adjoining field from Ephron the Hittite.” ref

The narrative in the Book of Genesis revolves around the themes of posterity and land. Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father Terah and settle in the land originally given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward who might inherit the land after Abraham; and, while promises are made to Ishmael about founding a great nation, Isaac, Abraham’s son by his half-sister Sarah, inherits God’s promises to Abraham. Abraham purchases a tomb (the Cave of the Patriarchs) at Hebron to be Sarah’s grave, thus establishing his right to the land; and, in the second generation, his heir Isaac is married to a woman from his own kin, thus ruling the Canaanites out of any inheritance. Abraham later marries Keturah and has six more sons; but, on his death, when he is buried beside Sarah, it is Isaac who receives “all Abraham’s goods”, while the other sons receive only “gifts” (Genesis 25:5–8).[4]

The Abraham story cannot be definitively related to any specific time, and it is widely agreed that the patriarchal age, along with the Exodus and the period of the judges, is a late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history.[5] A common hypothesis among scholars is that it was composed in the early Persian period (late 6th century BCE) as a result of tensions between Jewish landowners who had stayed in Judah during the Babylonian captivity and traced their right to the land through their “father Abraham”, and the returning exiles who based their counterclaim on Moses and the Exodus tradition.

Jewish Abraham

“According to Jewish tradition, Abraham was born under the name Abram in the city of Ur in Babylonia in the year 1948 from Creation (circa 1800 BCE). He was the son of Terach, an idol merchant, but from his early childhood, he questioned the faith of his father and sought the truth. He came to believe that the entire universe was the work of a single Creator, and he began to teach this belief to others. Abram tried to convince his father, Terach, of the folly of idol worship. One day, when Abram was left alone to mind the store, he took a hammer and smashed all of the idols except the largest one. He placed the hammer in the hand of the largest idol. When his father returned and asked what happened, Abram said, “The idols got into a fight, and the big one smashed all the other ones.” His father said, “Don’t be ridiculous. These idols have no life or power. They can’t do anything.” Abram replied, “Then why do you worship them?” ref

“Eventually, the one true Creator that Abram had worshipped called to him, and made him an offer: if Abram would leave his home and his family, then G-d would make him a great nation and bless him. Abram accepted this offer, and the b’rit (covenant) between G-d and the Jewish people was established. (Gen. 12). The idea of b’rit is fundamental to traditional Judaism: we have a covenant, a contract, with G-d, which involves rights and obligations on both sides. We have certain obligations to G-d, and G-d has certain obligations to us. The terms of this b’rit became more explicit over time, until the time of the Giving of the Torah. Abram was subjected to ten tests of faith to prove his worthiness for this covenant. Leaving his home is one of these trials.” ref

“Abram, raised as a city-dweller, adopted a nomadic lifestyle, traveling through what is now the land of Israel for many years. G-d promised this land to Abram’s descendants. Abram is referred to as a Hebrew (Ivri), possibly because he was descended from Eber or possibly because he came from the “other side” (eber) of the Euphrates River. But Abram was concerned, because he had no children and he was growing old. Abram’s beloved wife, Sarai, knew that she was past child-bearing years, so she offered her maidservant, Hagar, as a wife to Abram. This was a common practice in the region at the time.” ref

“According to tradition, Hagar was a daughter of Pharaoh, given to Abram during his travels in Egypt. She bore Abram a son, Ishmael, who, according to both Muslim and Jewish tradition, is the ancestor of the Arabs. (Gen 16) When Abram was 100 and Sarai 90, G-d promised Abram a son by Sarai. G-d changed Abram’s name to Abraham (father of many), and Sarai’s to Sarah (from “my princess” to “princess”). Sarah bore Abraham a son, Isaac (in Hebrew, Yitzchak), a name derived from the word “laughter,” expressing Abraham’s joy at having a son in his old age. (Gen 1718). Isaac was the ancestor of the Jewish people. Abraham died at the age of 175.” ref

New DNA tech traces origins of Yiddish to… Turkey

“Genetic data shows speakers of Jewish language came from ancient Silk Road crossroads and may have been traders, Israeli researcher says. DNA shows that Yiddish, the historic language of Ashkenazi Jews, may have originated in northeastern Turkey, according to a study by an Israeli-born researcher. The study by the University of Sheffield’s Dr. Eran Elhaik, which was published recently in scientific journal Genome Biology, used a Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool to locate the origins of Yiddish speakers’ DNA.” ref

“We identified 367 people who claim they have two parents who are Ashkenazic Jews and we divided them into people whose parents only speak Yiddish and then everyone else,” Elhaik told WIRED. The researchers then used the GPS algorithms to analyze participants’ DNA and predict their most likely geographical origin. The results, Elhaik said, showed that many of them came from the vicinity of four ancient villages in northern Turkey whose names are conspicuously similar to “Ashkenaz” — Askenaz, Eskenaz, Ashanaz, and Ashkuz — and which are all located near a crossroads of the ancient Silk Road trade route.” ref

“The researchers have surmised that the language may have been invented by Iranian and Slavic Jews who traded on the Silk Road around the 9th century. “We were able to predict the possible ancestral location where Yiddish originated over 1,000 years ago — a question which linguists have debated over for many years,” Elhaik said. “Northeast Turkey is the only place in the world where these place names exist — which strongly implies that Yiddish was established around the first millennium at a time when Jewish traders who were plying the Silk Road moved goods from Asia to Europe wanted to keep their monopoly on trade.” ref


“They did this by inventing Yiddish — a secret language that very few can speak or understand other than Jews. Our findings are in agreement with an alternative theory that suggests Yiddish has Iranian, Turkish, and Slavic origins and explains why Yiddish contains 251 words for the terms ‘buy’ and ‘sell’. This is what we can expect from a language of experienced merchants.” ref

The study suggests that as Jews spread throughout Europe, their language acquired words from other languages in the continent, mainly German. “Yiddish is such a wonderful and complex language, which was inappropriately called ‘bad German’ by both its native and non-native speakers because the language consists of made-up German words and a non-German grammar,” Elhaik said. “Yiddish is truly a combination of familiar and adapted German words using Slavic grammar.” Elhaik told WIRED he hoped to be able to refine and improve the technology, which can currently analyze data from the last millennium or so. “We’re probably going to do a really good job for 2,000 to 10,000 years ago due to the availability of the DNA from these time periods,” he said.” ref

Scientists reveal Jewish history’s forgotten Turkish roots

Israeli-born geneticist believes the Turkish villages of Iskenaz, Eskenaz, and Ashanaz were part of the original homeland for Ashkenazic Jews

“Research suggests that the majority of the world’s modern Jewish population is descended mainly from people from ancient Turkey, rather than predominantly from elsewhere in the Middle East. The new research suggests that most of the Jewish population of northern and eastern Europe – normally known as Ashkenazic Jews – are the descendants of Greeks, Iranians, and others who colonized what is now northern Turkey more than 2000 years ago and were then converted to Judaism, probably in the first few centuries AD by Jews from Persia. At that stage, the Persian Empire was home to the world’s largest Jewish communities. According to research carried out by the geneticist, Dr Eran Elhaik of the University of Sheffield, over 90 percent of Ashkenazic ancestors come from that converted partially Greek-originating ancient community in north-east Turkey.” ref

“His research is based on genetic, historical, and place-name evidence. For his geographic genetic research, Dr Elhaik used a Geographic Population Structure computer modeling system to convert Ashkenazic Jewish DNA data into geographical information. Dr Elhaik, an Israeli-born geneticist who gained his doctorate in molecular evolution from the University of Houston, believes that three still-surviving Turkish villages – Iskenaz, Eskenaz, and Ashanaz – on the western part of an ancient Silk Road route were part of the original Ashkenazic homeland. He believes that the word Ashkenaz originally comes from Ashguza – the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian name for the Iron Age Eurasian steppe-land people, the Scythians. Referring to the names of the three Turkish villages, Dr Elhaik points out that “north-east Turkey is the only place in the world where these place-names exist”.” ref

“From the 690s AD onwards, anti-Jewish persecution by the Christian Byzantine Empire seems to have played a part in forcing large numbers of Jews to flee across the Black Sea to a more friendly state – the Turkic-ruled Khazar Empire with its large Slav and other populations. Some analyses of Yiddish suggests that it was originally a Slavic language, and Dr Elhaik and others believe that it was developed, probably in the 8th and 9th centuries AD, by Jewish merchants trading along some of the more northerly Silk Roads linking China and Europe. By the 730s, the Khazar Empire had begun to convert to Judaism – and more people converted to the faith.” ref

“But when the Khazar Empire declined in or around the 11th century, some of the Jewish population almost certainly migrated west into Central Europe. There, as Yiddish-speaking Jewish merchants came into contact with central European, often German-speaking, peoples, they began to replace the Slav words in Yiddish with large numbers of German and German-derived words, while retaining some of its Slav-originating grammar. Many Hebrew words also appear to have been added by that stage. The genetic modeling used in the research was based on DNA data from 367 Jews of northern and eastern European origin and more than 600 non-Jewish people mainly from Europe and western Asia. Dr Elhaik says it is the largest genomic study ever carried out on Ashkenazic Jews. His research will be published in the UK-based scientific journal, Genome Biology, and Evolution. Further research is planned to try to measure the precise size of the Semitic genetic input into Jewish and non-Jewish genomes.” ref

Volcanoes of Turkey (18 volcanoes) Volcanoes of Turkey – information / VolcanoDiscovery

Acigöl-Nevsehir | Akyarlar | Ararat | Erciyes Mountain | Girekol | Göllü Mountain | Hasan Dagi| Karaca Mountain | Montenegro | Karapinar | Kars | Kenger | Koruhüyüğü | Kula| NemrutMountain | Sandal | Suphan Mountain | Tendürek Mountain

Did a Volcano Inspire the bible god?

Exodus 3:12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 13:21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light so that they could travel by day or night. Exodus 15:7 In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. Exodus 19:18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

Exodus 24:17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

Exodus: 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Exodus 40:38 So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

Leviticus 9:24 Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.

Leviticus 10:2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

Leviticus 10:6 Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire.

Numbers 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Numbers 11:3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.

Numbers 14:14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, LORD, are with these people and that you, LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Numbers 16:35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

Numbers 26:10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign.

Deuteronomy 1:33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

Deuteronomy 4:11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.

Deuteronomy 4:12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

Deuteronomy 4:15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully.

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:33 Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived?

Deuteronomy 4:36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire.

Deuteronomy 5:4 The LORD spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain.

Deuteronomy 5:5 At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.

Deuteronomy 5:22 These are the commandments the LORD proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

Deuteronomy 5:23 When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me.

Deuteronomy 5:24 And you said, “The LORD our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them.

Deuteronomy 5:25 But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer.

Deuteronomy 5:26 For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived?

Deuteronomy 9:3 But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.

Deuteronomy 9:10 The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.

Deuteronomy 9:15 So I turned and went down from the mountain while it was ablaze with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands.

Deuteronomy 10:4 The LORD wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the LORD gave them to me.

Deuteronomy 18:16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

Deuteronomy 33:2 He said: “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.

2 Samuel 22:9 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.

Golan Heights dormant volcano

“Avital Volcanic Park is located on the site of a dormant volcano that last exploded between 100,000 to 700,000 years ago.

The explosion that rocked the site at the time is what formed the black basaltic rocks that now exist on the Golan Heights.” – Read the full story ›

Mount Bental, Golan Heights, Israel

“Mount Bental is part of a chain of volcanoes spanning along the eastern edge of Israel’s Golan Heights, you can witness spectacular views of the Hula Valley, Mount Hermon and the Golan. Its last eruption is said to have occurred more than 50,000 years ago.” Mount Bental, Golan Heights, Israel

“So myths about volcano gods had to come from somewhere than Israel. As rge DNA of Some Jews traces 4,000 years ago from the Lake Van Region, the largest lake in Turkey, lies in the far east of that country in the provinces of Van and Bitlis, Eastern Anatolia. It receives water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world’s largest endorheic lakes (having no outlet) – a volcanic eruption blocked the original outlet from the basin in ancient times. A test drilling in the lake detected evidence of 15 volcanic eruptions in the past 20,000 years. The lake was the center of the Armenian kingdom of Araratfrom about 3,000 years ago, afterwards of the Satrapy of Armina, Kingdom of Greater Armenia, and the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan. Along with Lake Sevan in today’s Armeniaand Lake Urmia in today’s Iran, Van was one of the three great lakes of the Armenian Kingdom, referred to as the seas of Armenia ” – Lake Van – Wikipedia

Ararat volcano?

The 5165-m-high, double-peaked stratovolcano Mount Ararat, also known as Agri Dagi, is Turkey’s highest, largest volume, and easternmost volcano. Background:

Glacier-clad Ararat, along with its twin volcano, 3925-m-high Kucuk Ararat (or Lesser Ararat), covers an area of 1000 sq km at the eastern end of a SSW-ESE line of volcanoes extending from Nemrut Dagi. Construction of the Greater and Lesser Ararat volcanoes was followed by a period of extensive flank eruptions, many erupted along N-S-trending fissures. The initial stage of flank eruptions produced a cluster of cinder cones and dacitic-rhyolitic lava domes surrounding Greater Ararat and a series of pyroclastic cones and domes on the western flank of Lesser Ararat. Late-stage activity formed large pyroclastic cones lower on the flanks of the two volcanoes. Ararat appears to have been active during the 3rd millennium BC; pyroclastic-flow deposits overlie early Bronze Age artifacts and human remains.” Ararat

“Despite the scholarly consensus that the “mountains of Ararat” of the Book of Genesis do not refer specifically to Mt. Ararat, it has been widely accepted in Christianity as the resting place of Noah’s Ark. It is the principal national symbol of Armenia and has been considered a sacred mountain by Armenians. It is featured prominently in Armenian literature and art and is an icon for Armenian irredentism. Mount Ararat forms a near-quadripoint between Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Ararat (sometimes Ararad) is the Greek version of the Hebrew spelling of the name Urartu, a kingdom that existed in the Armenian plateau in the 9th–6th centuries BC. German orientalist and Bible critic Wilhelm Gesenius speculated that the word “Ararat” came from the Sanskrit word Arjanwartah, meaning “holy ground. Mount Ararat consists of two distinct volcanic cones, Greater Ararat and Lesser Ararat (Little Ararat). The western volcanic cone, Greater Ararat, is a steep-sided volcanic cone that is larger and higher than the eastern volcanic cone. The chronology of Holocene volcanic activity associated with Mount Ararat is documented by either archaeological excavations, oral history, historical records, or a combination of these data, which provide evidence that volcanic eruptions of Mount Ararat occurred in 2500–2400 BC, 550 BC, possibly in 1450 AD and 1783 AD, and definitely in 1840 AD. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that explosive eruptions and pyroclastic flows from the northwest flank of Mount Ararat destroyed and buried at least one Kura–Araxes culturesettlement and caused numerous fatalities in 2500–2400 BC. Oral histories indicated that a significant eruption of uncertain magnitude occurred in 550 BC.”  Mount Ararat – Wikipedia

Mt. Ararat

“A mountainous plateau in western Asia from which flow in different directions the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Aras and the Choruk rivers. Its general elevation is 6,000 feet above the sea. Lake Van, which like the Dead Sea has no outlet, is nearly in its center. The Babylonian name was Urartu, the consonants being the same in both words. In 2 Kings 19:37 and Isaiah 37:38 the word is translated in the King James Version Armenia, which correctly represents the region designated. It was to Armenia that the sons of Sennacherib fled. In Jeremiah 51:27 Ararat is associated with Minni and Ashkenaz, which according to the Assyrian monuments lay just to the east of Armenia. In Genesis 8:4 the ark is said to have rested “upon the mountains of Ararat,” i.e. in the mountainous region of Armenia, the plural showing that the mountain peak known as Ararat was not referred to. This peak is of volcanic origin and lies outside the general region, rising from the lowlands of the Araxes (Aras) River to a height of 17,000 feet, supported by another peak seven miles distant, 13,000 feet high. It is only in comparatively modern times that the present name has been given to it. The Armenians still call it Massis, but believe, however, that Noah was buried at Nachitchevan near its base.” Bible Map: Ararat

“The original name of the kingdom occupying Armenia was Bianias, which Ptolemy transliterated Byana. Later the “B” was modified into “V” and we have the modern Van, the present capital of the province. The “mountains of Ararat” on which the ark rested were probably those of the Kurdish range which separates Armenia from Mesopotamia and Kurdistan. In the Babylonian account the place is called “the mountain of Nizir” which is east of Assyria. Likewise Berosus locates the place “in the mountain of the Kordyaeans” or Kurds (Ant., I, iii, 6), while the Syriac version has Hardu in Gen. 8:4 instead of Ararat. The Kurds still regard Jebel Judi, a mountain on the boundary between Armenia and Kurdistan, as the place where the ark rested.” Bible Map: Ararat

“This elevated plateau of Armenia has still many attractions, and is eminently suited to have been the center from which the human race spread in all directions. Notwithstanding its high elevation the region is fertile, furnishing abundant pasture, and producing good crops of wheat and barley, while the vine is indigenous. Moreover there are unmistakable indications that in early historic times there was a much more abundant rainfall in all that region than there is now, so that the climate was then better adapted to the wants of primitive man. This is shown by the elevated beaches surrounding lakes Van, Urumiah, and, indeed, all the lakes of central Asia. Great quantities of mammoth bones have been found in these bordering lacustrine deposits corresponding to those found in the glacial and postglacial deposits of Europe and America. It should, also, be remembered that the drying up of the waters of the flood is represented to have been very gradual-it being 170 days from the time the waters began to subside before Noah could disembark. It may have been many centuries before the present conditions were established, the climate, meanwhile, being modified to a corresponding degree by the proximity of vast surrounding bodies of water.” Bible Map: Ararat

“Armenia abounds in inscriptions carved on the rocks, altar stones and columns, but they have been only imperfectly translated. The script is cuneiform and each letter has only a single phonetic character attached to it. But there are introduced a good many borrowed ideographs which have assisted in the decipherment. According to Sayce this cuneiform syllabary was introduced from Assyria after the conquest of Shalmaneser II in the 9th century B.C. AR’ARAT, the Scriptures no where speak of a Mt. Ararat, but of the mountains of Ararat. The name Ararat is found in the English bible only in Gen. 8:4, Jer. 51:27, but in the Hebrew it occurs in Isaiah 37:38 although translated Armenia and so also in 2 Kings 19:37. In the latter passage the event described took place in Armenia as we know from other history. Ararat is only another name for Armenia which was one of three ancient associated kingdoms as Jer. 51:27 shows. No particular mountain was specified in Scripture, and that mountain now pointed out in Armenia, 500 ms. n. of Babylon, and called Mt. Massis by the Armenians, and Mt. Ararat by travelers, seems first to have been announced as the mount Ararat by one Rubruquis, a traveler, in about Asher Dan 1250, as Bochart says. This opinion seems to have been derived from St. Jerome. But more ancient writers, as Berosus and the Chaldee paraphrast Jonathan with other historians and early commentators, think that the high range, 50 ms. n. of Nineveh, is the true resting place of the Ark, in Armenia. Mt. Massis is 17,750 ft. above the sea and rises from a plain at the e. end of a range of many miles in length. The older claimant, of which we have just spoken, is called Mt. Kudur, the meaning of this word being “the great ship.“ Bible Map: Ararat

“ARME’NIA, see Ararat. Anciently it was associated with Ararat; the Assyrian monuments show that the country into which the sons of Sennacherib escaped, see 2 Kings 19:37, was Armenia, but called Ararat in the Hebrew. It is a high mountainous land beginning 50 ms. n. of Nineveh with several high mountain ranges, w. of the Caspian. In very ancient times, Jer. 51:27, there were three kingdoms and the entire district was, probably, called Togarmah. It was, as a whole, bounded w. by the upper Euphrates; e. by the lower part of the Caspian; s. by lat. 36 50′ and n. by lat. 41 40’.” Bible Map: Ararat

Volcanoes of Saudi Arabia (10 volcanoes)

Al Harrah| Harrat ‘Uwayrid| Harrat al Birk| Harrat ar Rahah| Harrat Ithnayn| Harrat Khaybar| Harrat Kishb| Harrat Lunayyir| Harrat Rahat| Jabal Yar

Harrat ar Rahah volcano has been thought before to relate to the bible as well?

The age of the last eruptions is unknown, but probably less than 10,000 years. Neumann  van Padang (1963) in the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World speculated that the Israelite account in Exodus 19:16-18 might refer to an eruption from Harrat ar Rahah.” ref

Exodus 19:16-18:

16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

Art by Damien Marie AtHope

First infertility diagnosis made 4,000 years ago discovered in cuneiform tablet in Turkey.

First infertility diagnosis made 4,000 years ago

This reminds me of the Abraham story Genesis 12: 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.“4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

4,091/2091 BC God Sends Abram to Egypt Genesis 12

2090 BC The Famine in Canaan Genesis 12:10

2085 BC Abram and Lot Part Ways Genesis 13

2085 BC Abram Promised Many Descendants Genesis 13:14

2084 BC Abram Rescues Lot Genesis 14

2081 BC God’s Covenant with Abram Genesis 15

2081 BC Sarai and Hagar Genesis 16

2080 BC Ishmael Born Genesis 16:15

2067 BC The Covenant of Circumcision Genesis 17

2067 BC God Promises the Birth of Isaac Genesis 18

2067 BC The Destruction of Sodom Genesis 19

2067 BC Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech Genesis 20

2066 BC Isaac Born Genesis 21

2064 BC Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away Genesis 21:8

2057 BC The Treaty at Beersheba Genesis 21:22

2054 BC The Offering of Isaac Genesis 22

2030 BC Death and Burial of Sarah Genesis 23

2026 BC Isaac Marries Rebekah Genesis 24

2006 BC Birth of Jacob and Esau Genesis 25

1991 BC Death of Abraham Genesis 25:5 ref

“Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 28 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa. The location is in a district of ŞanlıurfaProvince that is also named “Harran”. A few kilometers from the village of Altınbaşak are the archaeological remains of ancient Harran, a major commercial, cultural, and religious center first inhabited in the Early Bronze Age III (3rd millennium BCE) period. The earliest records of Harran come from Ebla tablets (late 3rd millennium BCE). In its prime Harran was a major Assyrian city which controlled the point where the road from Damascus joins the highway between Ninevehand Carchemish. This location gave Harran strategic value from an early date. Because Harran had an abundance of goods that passed through its region, it became a target for raids. In the 18th century, Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I (1813–1781 BCE) launched an expedition to secure the Harranian trade route.” https://lnkd.in/eUiyFUf

“The Abraham story cannot be definitively related to any specific time, and it is widely agreed that the patriarchal age, along with the exodus and the period of the judges, is a late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history.”

“Abraham, originally Abram, is the common patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the Covenant, the special relationship between the Jewish people and God; in Christianity, he is the prototype of all believers, Jewish or Gentile; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad.[2]

The narrative in Genesis revolves around the themes of posterity and land. Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father Terah and settle in the land originally given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward who might inherit the land after Abraham; and, while promises are made to Ishmael about founding a great nation, Isaac, Abraham’s son by his half-sister Sarah, inherits God’s promises to Abraham. Abraham purchases a tomb (the Cave of the Patriarchs) at Hebron to be Sarah’s grave, thus establishing his right to the land; and, in the second generation, his heir Isaac is married to a woman from his own kin, thus ruling the Canaanites out of any inheritance. Abraham later marries Keturah and has six more sons; but, on his death, when he is buried beside Sarah, it is Isaac who receives “all Abraham’s goods”, while the other sons receive only “gifts” (Genesis 25:5–8).” https://lnkd.in/enKmTMX

Abram married Sarah (Sarai), who was barren. Terah, with Abram, Sarai, and Lot, then departed for Canaan, but settled in Haran/Harran

“Haran is a place mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. almost universally identified with Harran, a city whose ruins lie within present-day Turkey. Haran first appears in the Book of Genesis as the home of Terah and his descendants, and as Abraham‘s temporary home. Later biblical passages list Haran among some cities and lands subjugated by Assyrian rulers and among Tyre‘s trading partners.

where Terah died at the age of 205.[Genesis 11:27–32] God had told Abram to leave his country and kindred and go to a land that he would show him, and promised to make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless them that bless him, and curse them who may curse him.[Genesis 12:1–3] Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and the substance and souls that they had acquired, and traveled to Shechem in Canaan.[Genesis 12:4–6]https://lnkd.in/ev2dzwR)

4000-Year-Old Mysterious Megalithic Tomb Discovered in the Golan Heights

“A monumental megalithic tomb with unique rock carvings in its ceiling has been discovered in the Golan Heights. The mysterious multi-chambered tomb is the sign of early farmers that left their mark all over the fertile region, archaeologists say. In fact, the Bronze Age tomb, built some 4000 years ago, is one of the largest discovered in the Middle East, and the basalt capstone covering it, which has rock art engraved on it, weighs about 50 tons. The engraved shapes depict a straight line going to the center of an arc. About fifteen such engravings were documented on the ceiling of the dolmen, spread out in a kind of arc along the ceiling. No parallels exist for these shapes in the engraved rock drawings of the Middle East, and their significance remains a mystery,” says Uri Berger of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The engravings that were exposed on the inside of the built chamber. The tomb was covered with an imposing heap of stones and earth, a so-called tumulus, some 20 meters in diameter. One of the interior chambers of the tomb, where the rock art was discovered, was two by three meters in area, and investigation of the single-chambered tomb, revealed a secondary multi-burial of both adults and children (the practice of allowing bodies to decompose in one place, then collecting the bones and interring them in another place). Inside the tomb, the excavators discovered colored beads and other personal items of the deceased.” – 4000-Year-Old Mysterious Megalithic Tomb

“The imposing monumental tomb with giant basalt slabs that the ancient builders used to construct this memorial to their “special dead” is evidence of a sophisticated society that had a complex governmental and economic system that executed monumental engineering projects but did not leave behind any other archaeological evidence the archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority explained. The gigantic dolmen at Kibbutz Shamir is, without doubt, an indication of public construction”, says Professor Sharon, “that required a significant amount of manpower over a considerable period of time. During that time, all of those people had to be housed and fed. The building of such a huge construction necessitated knowledge of engineering and architecture that small nomadic groups did not usually possess. And even more importantly, a strong system of government was required here that could assemble a large amount of manpower, provide for the personnel and above all direct the implementation and control of a large and lengthy project.” – 4000-Year-Old Mysterious Megalithic Tomb

“2000 BC—Seima-Turbino Phenomenon refers to a pattern of burial sites with similar bronze artifacts dated from 2100 BCE to 1900 BCE found across northern Eurasia, from Finland to Mongolia, which has suggested a common point of cultural origin, advanced metalworking technology, and unexplained rapid migration. The buried were nomadic warriors and metal-workers, traveling on horseback or two-wheeled chariots. The name derives from the Seima (Sejma) cemetery at the confluence of the Oka River and Volga River, and the Turbino cemetery in Perm. The Altai Mountains in what is now southern Russia and central Mongolia have been identified as the point of origin of the cultural enigma of the Seima-Turbino phenomenon. The culture spread from these mountains to the west and to the east. Artifact types such as spearheads with hooks, single-bladed knives, and socketed axes with geometric designs traveled west and east. Although they were the precursor to the much later Mongol invasions, these groups were not yet strong enough to attack the important social sites of the Bronze Age.” —Seima-TurbinoPhenomenon

“4,000 to 3,000 years ago in the Ancient Near East, marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. The Ancient Near Eastern cultures are well within the historical era: The first half of the millennium is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. At the center of the millennium, a new order emerges with Minoan Greek dominance of the Aegean and the rise of the Hittite Empire. The end of the millennium sees the Bronze Age collapse and the transition to the Iron Age. Other regions of the world are still in the prehistoric period. In Europe, the Beaker culture introduces the Bronze Age, presumably associated with Indo-European expansion. The Indo-Iranian expansion reaches the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent (Vedic India), propagating the use of the chariot.” – 2nd millennium BC

“It has been conjectured that changes in climate in this region around 2000 BC and the ensuing ecological, economic and political changes triggered a rapid and massive migration westward into northeast Europe, eastward into China and southward into Vietnam and Thailand across a frontier of some 4,000 miles – supposedly this migration took place in just five to six generations and led to peoples from Finland in the west to Thailand in the east employing the same metal working technology and, in some areas, horse breeding and riding.[11] However, further excavations and research in Ban Chiang and Ban Non Wat, Thailand argue the idea that Seima-Turbino brought metal workings into southeast Asia is based on inaccurate and unreliable radiocarbon dating at the site of Ban Chiang. It is now agreed by virtually every specialist in Southeast Asian prehistory, that the Bronze Age of Southeast Asia is too late to relate to Seima-Turbino, and the cast bronzes are quite different.[12]

The same authors conjectured that the same migrations spread the Uralic languages across Europe and Asia.[11]However, recent genetic testings of sites in south Siberia and Kazakhstan(Andronovo horizon) would rather support a spreading of the bronze technology together with Indo-European language migrations eastwards, as this technology was well-known for quite a while in western regions.” —Seima-Turbino Phenomenon

The Birth and Evolution of Judaism: The Pre-Mosaic Stage (around 1950-1300 BCE/3,950-3,300 years ago)

Info from “The Hebrews: A Learning Module from Washington State University, by Richard Hooker”

“Little or nothing can be known for certain about the nature of Hebrew worship before the migration from Egypt. In Hebrew history, Abraham is already worshipping a figure called “Elohim,” which is the plural for “lord.” This figure is also called “El Shaddai” (“God the Mountaineer (?),” translated as “God Almighty”), and a couple other variants. The name of God, Yahweh, isn’t learned by the Hebrews until Moses hears the name spoken by God on Mount Sinai. This god requires animal sacrifices and regular expiation. He intrudes on human life with astonishing suddenness, and often demands absurd acts from humans. The proper human relationship to this god is obedience, and the early history of humanity is a history of humans oscillating between obedience to this god and autonomy. This god is anthropomorphic: he has human qualities. He is frequently angered and seems to have some sort of human body. In addition, the god worshipped by Abraham and his descendants is the creator god, that is, the god solely responsible for the creation of the universe. The god of Genesis is bisexual: he/she is often referred to in female as well as male terms. For instance, this god is represented frequently as “mothering” or “giving birth through labor pains” to the world and humans (these passages are universally mistranslated in English as “fathering”—this god is only referred to as a “father” twice in Genesis ).” Ref

“In Genesis, Elohim or El Shaddai functions as a primitive law-giver; after the Flood, this god gives to Noah those primitive laws which apply to all human beings, the so-called Noahide Laws. Nothing of the sophistication and comprehensive of the Mosaic laws is evident in the early history of the human relationship to Yahweh as outlined in Genesis. Scholars have wracked their brains trying to figure out what conclusions might be drawn about this human history. In general, they believe that the portrait of Hebrew religion in Genesis is an inaccurate one. They conclude instead that Hebrew monolatry and monotheism began with the Yahweh cult introduced, according to Exodus, in the migration from Egypt between 1300 and 1200 BC. The text of Genesis in their view is an attempt to legitimate the occupation of Palestine by asserting a covenantal relationship between Yahweh and the Hebrews that had been established far in the distant past. All these conclusions are brilliant but tentative, for we’ll never know for sure much of anything substantial about Hebrew history and religion during the age of the patriarchs or the sojourn in Egypt.” Ref

“Nevertheless, scholars draw on the text of Genesis to conclude the following controversial ideas about early Hebrew religion: Early Hebrew religion was polytheistic; the curious plural form of the name of God, Elohim rather than El, leads them to believe that the original Hebrew religion involved several gods. This plural form, however, can be explained as a “royal” plural. Several other aspects of the account of Hebrew religion in Genesis also imply a polytheistic faith. The earliest Hebrew religion was animistic, that is, the Hebrews seemed to worship forces of nature that dwelled in natural objects. As a result, much of the early Hebrew religion had a number of practices that fall into the category of magic: scapegoat sacrifice and various forms of imitative magic, all of which are preserved in the text of Genesis. Early Hebrew religion eventually became anthropomorphic, that is, god or the gods took human forms; in later Hebrew religion, Yahweh becomes a figure that transcends the human and material worlds. Individual tribes probably worshipped different gods; there is no evidence in Genesis that anything like a national God existed in the time of the patriarchs. The most profound revolution in Hebrew thought, though, occurred in the migration from Egypt, and its great innovator was Moses. In the epic events surrounding the flight from Egypt and the settling of the promised land, Hebrew religion became permanently and irrevocably, the Mosaic religion.” Ref

Kura-Araxes Cultural 5,520 to 4,470 years old DNA traces to the Canaanites, Arabs, and Jews

Bronze Age migrants, the Kura-Araxes cultural 5,520 to 4,470 years ago, their DNA from the Caucasus Mountains traces to the Canaanites and then lives on in modern Arabs and Jews. A Study found most Arab and Jewish groups in the region owe more than half of their DNA to Canaanites and other peoples of the ancient Near East—an area encompassing much of the modern Levant, Caucasus, Turkey, and Iran. Before the Kura-Araxes period of cultural traditions, horse bones were not found in Transcaucasia/South Caucasus a geographical region of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“The Kura–Araxes culture, also named Kur–Araz culture, or the Early Transcaucasian culture was a civilization that existed from about 4000 BCE until about 2000 BCE or around 6,020 to 4,020 years ago, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end; in some locations, it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BCE or around 4,620 to 4,720 years ago. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; it spread northward in Caucasus by 3000 BCE or around 5,020 years ago). Altogether, the early Transcaucasian culture enveloped a vast area 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. Furthermore, it gave rise to the later Khirbet Kerak-ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire. While it is unknown what cultures and languages were present in Kura-Araxes, the two most widespread theories suggest a connection with Hurro-Urartian and/or Anatolian languages.” ref

“The Kura-Araxes cultural tradition existed in the highlands of the South Caucasus from 3500 to 2450 BCE or 5,520 to 4,470 years ago. This tradition represented an adaptive regime and a symbolically encoded common identity spread over a broad area of patchy mountain environments. By 3000 BCE or around 5,020 years ago, groups bearing this identity had migrated southwest across a wide area from the Taurus Mountains down into the southern Levant, southeast along the Zagros Mountains, and north across the Caucasus Mountains. In these new places, they became effectively ethnic groups amid already heterogeneous societies. This paper addresses the place of migrants among local populations as ethnicities and the reasons for their disappearance in the diaspora after 2450 BCE.” ref

“DNA from the Bible’s Canaanites lives on in modern Arabs and Jews: A new study of ancient DNA traces the surprising heritage of these mysterious Bronze Age people. Tel Megiddo was an important Canaanite city-state during the Bronze Age, approximately 3500 to 1200 B.CE or 5,520 to 3,220 years ago. DNA analysis reveals that the city’s population included migrants from the distant Caucasus Mountains. They are best known as the people who lived “in a land flowing with milk and honey” until they were vanquished by the ancient Israelites and disappeared from history. But a scientific report published today reveals that the genetic heritage of the Canaanites survives in many modern-day Jews and Arabs. The study in Cell also shows that migrants from the distant Caucasus Mountains combined with the indigenous population to forge the unique Canaanite culture that dominated the area between Egypt and Mesopotamia during the Bronze Age. The team extracted ancient DNA from the bones of 73 individuals buried over the course of 1,500 years at five Canaanite sites scattered across Israel and Jordan. They also factored in data from an additional 20 individuals from four sites previously reported. “Individuals from all sites are highly genetically similar,” says co-author and molecular evolutionist Liran Carmel of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.” ref

“So while the Canaanites lived in far-flung city-states, and never coalesced into an empire, they shared genes as well as a common culture. The researchers also compared the ancient DNA with that of modern populations and found that most Arab and Jewish groups in the region owe more than half of their DNA to Canaanites and other peoples who inhabited the ancient Near East—an area encompassing much of the modern Levant, Caucasus, and Iran. The study—a collaborative effort between Carmel’s lab, the ancient DNA lab at Harvard University headed by geneticist David Reich, and other groups—was by far the largest of its type in the region. Its findings are the latest in a series of recent breakthroughs in our understanding of this mysterious people who left behind few written records. Marc Haber, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust’s Sanger Institute in Hinxton, United Kingdom, co-led a 2017 study of five Canaanite individuals from the coastal town of Sidon. The results showed that modern Lebanese can trace more than 90 percent of their genetic ancestry to Canaanites.” ref

“As Egyptians built pyramids and Mesopotamians constructed ziggurats some 4,500 years ago, the Canaanites began to develop towns and cities between these great powers. They first appear in the historical record around 1800 B.C., when the king of the city-state of Mari in today’s eastern Syria complained about “thieves and Canaanites.” Diplomatic correspondence written five centuries later mentions several Canaanite kings, who often struggled to maintain independence from Egypt. “The land of Canaan is your land and its kings are your servants,” acknowledged one Babylonian monarch in a letter to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. Biblical texts, written many centuries later, insist that Yahweh promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites after their escape from Egypt. Jewish scripture says the newcomers eventually triumphed, but archaeological evidence doesn’t show widespread destruction of Canaanite populations. Instead, they appear to have been gradually overpowered by later invaders such as the Philistines, Greeks, and Romans.” ref

“Red and black pottery circa 2500 BCE or around 4,520 years old was found in the Caucasus Mountains, as well as at Canaanite sites far to the southwest. The Canaanites spoke a Semitic language and were long thought to derive from earlier populations that settled in the region thousands of years before. But archaeologists have puzzled over red-and-black pottery discovered at Canaanite sites that closely resembles ceramics found in the Caucasus Mountains, some 750 miles to the northwest. Historians also have noted that many Canaanite names derive from Hurrian, a non-Semitic language originating in the Caucasus. Whether this resulted from long-distance trade or migration was uncertain. The new study demonstrates that significant numbers of people, and not just goods, were moving around during humanity’s first era of cities and empires. The genes of Canaanite individuals proved to be a mix of local Neolithic people and the Caucasus migrants, who began showing up in the region around the start of the Bronze Age. Carmel adds that the migration appears to have been more than a one-time event, and “could have involved multiple waves throughout the Bronze Age.” One brother and sister who lived around 1500 B.C. in Megiddo, in what is now northern Israel, were from a family that had migrated relatively recently from the northeast. The team also noted that individuals at two coastal sites—Ashkelon in Israel and Sidon in Lebanon—show slightly more genetic diversity. That may be the result of broader trade links in Mediterranean port towns than inland settlements.” ref

“Glenn Schwartz, an archaeologist at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in the study, said that the biological data provides important insight into how Canaanites shared a notable number of genes as well as cultural traits. And Haber from the Wellcome Trust noted that the quantity of DNA results is particularly impressive, given the difficulty of extracting samples from old bones buried in such a warm climate that can quickly degrade genetic material. Both Israeli and Palestinian politicians claim the region of Israel and the Palestinian territories is the ancestral home of their people, and maintain that the other group was a late arrival. “We are the Canaanites,” asserted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last year. “This land is for its people…who were here 5,000 years ago.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said recently that the ancestors of modern Palestinians “came from the Arabian peninsula to the Land of Israel thousands of years” after the Israelites. The new study suggests that despite tumultuous changes in the area since the Bronze Age, “the present-day inhabitants of the region are, to a large extent, descended from its ancient residents,” concludes Schwartz—although Carmel adds that there are hints of later demographic shifts. Carmel hopes to soon expand the findings by collecting DNA from the remains of those who can be identified as Judean, Moabite, Ammonite, and other groups mentioned in the Bible and other texts. “One could analyze ‘Canaanite’ as opposed to ‘Israelite’ individuals,” adds archaeologist Mary Ellen Buck, who wrote a book on the Canaanites. “The Bible claims that these are distinct and mutually antagonistic groups, yet there’s reason to believe that they were very closely related.” ref

“As reported from genome-wide DNA data for 73 individuals from five archaeological sites across the Bronze and Iron Ages Southern Levant. These individuals, who share the “Canaanite” material culture, can be modeled as descending from two sources: (1) earlier local Neolithic populations and (2) populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros or the Bronze Age Caucasus. The non-local contribution increased over time, as evinced by three outliers who can be modeled as descendants of recent migrants. We show evidence that different “Canaanite” groups genetically resemble each other more than other populations. We find that Levant-related modern populations typically have substantial ancestry coming from populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros and the Bronze Age Southern Levant. These groups also harbor ancestry from sources we cannot fully model with the available data, highlighting the critical role of post-Bronze-Age migrations into the region over the past 3,000 years.” ref

“The Bronze Age (ca. 3500–1150 BCE) was a formative period in the Southern Levant, a region that includes present-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and southwest Syria. This era, which ended in a large-scale civilization collapse across this region (Cline, 2014), shaped later periods both demographically and culturally. The following Iron Age (ca. 1150–586 BCE) saw the rise of territorial kingdoms such as biblical Israel, Judah, Ammon, Moab, and Aram-Damascus, as well as the Phoenician city-states. In much of the Late Bronze Age, the region was ruled by imperial Egypt, although in later phases of the Iron Age it was controlled by the Mesopotamian-centered empires of Assyria and Babylonia. Archaeological and historical research has documented major changes during the Bronze and Iron Ages, such as the cultural influence of the northern (Caucasian) populations related to the Kura-Araxes tradition during the Early Bronze Age (Greenberg and Goren, 2009) and effects from the “Sea Peoples” (such as Philistines) from the west in the beginning of the Iron Age (Yasur-Landau, 2010). The inhabitants of the Southern Levant in the Bronze Age are commonly described as “Canaanites,” that is, residents of the Land of Canaan. The term appears in several 2nd millennium BCE sources (e.g., Amarna, Alalakh, and Ugarit tablets) and in biblical texts dating from the 8th–7th centuries BCE and later (Bienkowski, 1999, Lemche, 1991, Na’aman, 1994a). In the latter, the Canaanites are referred to as the pre-Israelite inhabitants of the land (Na’aman, 1994a). Canaan of the 2nd millennium BCE was organized in a system of city-states (Goren et al., 2004), where elites ruled from urban hubs over rural (and in some places pastoral) countryside. The material culture of these city-states was relatively uniform (Mazar, 1992), but whether this uniformity extends to their genetic ancestry is unknown. Although genetic ancestry and material culture are unlikely to ever match perfectly, past ancient DNA analyses show that they might sometimes be strongly associated. In other cases, a direct correspondence between genetics and culture cannot be established. We discuss several examples in the Discussion. Previous ancient DNA studies published genome-scale data for thirteen individuals from four Bronze Age sites in the Southern Levant: three individuals from ‘Ain Ghazal in present-day Jordan, dated to ∼2300 BCE (Intermediate Bronze Age) (Lazaridis et al., 2016); five from Sidon in present-day Lebanon, dated to ∼1750 BCE (Middle Bronze Age) (Haber et al., 2017); two from Tel Shadud in present-day Israel, dated to ∼1250 BCE (Late Bronze Age) (van den Brink et al., 2017); and three from Ashkelon in present-day Israel, dated to ∼1650–1200 BCE (Middle and Late Bronze Age) (Feldman et al., 2019). The ancestry of these individuals could be modeled as a mixture of earlier local groups and groups related to the Chalcolithic people of the Zagros Mountains, located in present-day Iran and designated in previous studies as Iran_ChL (Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016). The Bronze Age Sidon group could be modeled as a major (93% ± 2%) ancestral source for present-day groups in the region (Haber et al., 2017). A study of Chalcolithic individuals from Peqi’in cave in the Galilee (present-day Israel) showed that the ancestry of this earlier group included an additional component related to earlier Anatolian farmers, which was excluded as a substantial source for later Bronze Age groups from the Southern Levant, with the exception of the coastal groups from Sidon and Ashkelon (Feldman et al., 2019, Harney et al., 2018). These observations point to a degree of population turnover in the Chalcolithic-Bronze Age transition, consistent with archaeological evidence for a disruption between local Chalcolithic and Early Bronze cultures (de Miroschedji, 2014). Addressing three issues: First, we sought to determine the extent of genetic homogeneity among the sites associated with Canaanite material culture. Second, we analyzed the data to gain insights into the timing, extent, and origin of gene flow that brought Zagros- and Caucasus-related ancestry to the Bronze Age Southern Levant. Third, we assessed the extent to which additional gene flow events have affected the region since that time. To address these questions, we generated genome-wide ancient DNA data for 71 Bronze Age and 2 Iron Age individuals, spanning roughly 1,500 years, from the Intermediate Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Combined with previously published data on the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Southern Levant, we assembled a dataset of 93 individuals from 9 sites across present-day Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon, all demonstrating Canaanite material culture. We show that the sampled individuals from the different sites are usually genetically similar, albeit with subtle but in some cases significant differences, especially in residents of the coastal regions of Sidon and Ashkelon. Almost all individuals can be modeled as a mixture of local earlier Neolithic populations and populations from the northeastern part of the Near East. However, the mixture proportions change over time, revealing the demographic dynamics of the Southern Levant during the Bronze Age. Finally, we show that the genomes of present-day groups geographically and historically linked to the Bronze Age Levant, including the great majority of present-day Jewish groups and Levantine Arabic-speaking groups, are consistent with having 50% or more of their ancestry from people related to groups who lived in the Bronze Age Levant and the Chalcolithic Zagros. These present-day groups also show ancestries that cannot be modeled by the available ancient DNA data, highlighting the importance of additional major genetic effects on the region since the Bronze Age.” ref

Their Results

DNA from the bones of 73 individuals from 5 archaeological sites in the Southern Levant (Table S1; STAR Methods; Figure 1A):

  • Thirty-five individuals from Tel Megiddo (northern      Israel), most of whom date to the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age, except for      one dating to the Intermediate Bronze Age and one dating to the Early Iron      Age
  • Twenty-one individuals from the Baq‛ah in central      Jordan (northeast of Amman), mostly from the Late Bronze Age
  • Thirteen individuals from Yehud (central Israel), dating      to the Intermediate Bronze Age
  • Three individuals from Tel Hazor (northern Israel)      dating to the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age
  • One      individual from Tel Abel Beth Maacah (northern Israel), dating to the Iron Age ref

“For all analyzed samples but one, DNA was extracted from petrous bones. The DNA was converted to double-indexed half Uracil-DNA glycosylase (UDG)-treated libraries that we enriched for about 1.2 million single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) before sequencing (see STAR Methods). The median number of autosomal SNPs covered was 288,863 (range 4,883–945,269). In addition to genetic data, we measured values of strontium isotopes for 12 individuals (and for 8 additional individuals that did not produce DNA) (STAR Methods; Methods S1A), and generated accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates for 20 individuals (Table S1). We combined our newly generated data with published data for 13 Bronze Age Southern Levant individuals from ‘Ain-Ghazal, Sidon, Tel Shadud, and Ashkelon (van den Brink et al., 2017, Feldman et al., 2019, Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016), and 7 Iron Age Southern Levant Individuals from Ashkelon (Feldman et al., 2019). The projected the autosomal genetic data onto the plane spanned by the first two principal components of 777 present-day West Eurasian individuals genotyped for roughly 600,000 SNPs on the Affymetrix Human Origins SNP array (Lazaridis et al., 2014). The reserchers restricted the plot to 68 individuals represented by at least 30,000 autosomal SNPs (Figure 1B), a coverage threshold where the ability to infer ancestry was robust to sampling noise (Methods S1B). All Bronze and Iron Age Levant individuals (blue and green shapes) form a tight cluster, except for three outliers from Megiddo, and previously identified outliers from the Ashkelon population known as Iron Age I (IA1) (Feldman et al., 2019). We also ran ADMIXTURE on a set of 1,663 present-day and ancient individuals (see STAR Methods; Figure S1). The ADMIXTURE results are qualitatively consistent with the principal component analysis (PCA), suggesting that all individuals but the outliers from Megiddo and the Ashkelon IA1 population have similar ancestry (Figure 1C). The method described in (Olalde et al., 2019) to identify 17 individuals as being first-, second-, or third-degree relatives of other individuals in the dataset. They fall within seven families: five in Tel Megiddo and two in the Baq‛ah. In most families, we used only the member with the highest SNP coverage in subsequent analyses (Table S1). Two of the three Megiddo outliers are a brother and a sister (Family 4, I2189 and I2200), leaving in the final dataset two individuals marked as outliers. After removing low-coverage individuals and closely related family members, 62 individuals were left for further analysis (Table S1). High Degree of Genetic Affinities between Multiple Sites: The reserch divided the 26 high-coverage individuals from Tel Megiddo into the following groups, on the basis of geographic location, archaeological period, and genetic clustering in PCA (Table S1): Intermediate Bronze Age (Megiddo_IBA, a single individual), Middle-to-Late Bronze Age (Megiddo_MLBA, 22 individuals), Iron Age (Megiddo_IA, a single individual), as well as the two outliers, Megiddo_I2200 and Megiddo_I10100, which were each treated as a separate group. We compared these groups and the other populations in our dataset to previously published data from other sites in the broader region and from earlier periods, including the Early Bronze Age Caucasus (Armenia_EBA), the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age Caucasus (Armenia_MLBA), the Chalcolithic Zagros Mountains (Iran_ChL), the Chalcolithic Caucasus (Armenia_ChL), the Neolithic of the Southern Levant (Levant_N), the Neolithic of the Zagros Mountains (Iran_N), and the Neolithic of Anatolia (Anatolia_N) (Lazaridis et al., 2016).” ref

“To test for variation in ancestry proportions among the Levant Bronze and Iron Age groups, we used qpWave. qpWave tests whether each possible pair of groups (Testi, Testj) is consistent with descending from a common ancestral population—that is, consistent with being a clade—since separation from the ancestors of a set of outgroup populations. qpWave works by computing symmetry test statistics of the form f4(Testi, Testj; Outgroupk, Outgroupl), which have an expected value of zero if (Testi, Testj) form a clade with respect to the outgroups. qpWave then generates a single p value corrected for the empirically measured correlation among the statistics (Reich et al., 2012). Using a distantly related set of outgroups, we found that with the exception of the outliers from Megiddo, Ashkelon IA1, and Sidon, all Bronze and Iron Age Levant groups are consistent with being pairwise clades with respect to the outgroups (Figure 2). We discuss each of qpWave’s findings of significant population substructure in turn. The Megiddo outliers not only fail to form a clade with the other populations, but also with each other. Ashkelon IA1 has previously been reported to harbor European ancestry, and so our finding that it is genetically differentiated from contemporary groups is unsurprising (Feldman et al., 2019). The significant differentiation of the Sidon individuals in qpWave—despite the fact that they roughly cluster with the other Southern Levant Bronze Age groups in PCA and ADMIXTURE—is notable, especially because we find that they are consistent with forming a clade with the two groups from coastal Ashkelon that do not have European-related admixture (the Bronze Age and later Iron Age groups ASH_LBA and ASH_IA2). Speculatively, this observation could be related to the fact that both Sidon and Ashkelon were port towns with connections to other Mediterranean coastal groups outside the Southern Levant, which could have introduced ancestry components that are absent from inland Levantine Bronze Age groups, although it is difficult to test this hypothesis in the absence of high resolution ancient DNA sampling from the eastern Mediterranean rim. The genetic distinctiveness of the Sidon individuals is also compatible with previous findings that Chalcolithic Levantine individuals from Peqi’in Cave are consistent with contributing some ancestry to the Sidon individuals, but not to the ‘Ain Ghazal ones (Harney et al., 2018). We considered the possibility that the significantly different genetic patterns we detect in the Sidon individuals could reflect their different experimental treatment compared with that of the other individuals in this study (shotgun sequencing of non-UDG-treated libraries compared with enrichment of UDG-treated libraries). To test this, we repeated the analyses by using only transversion SNPs, which are less prone to characteristic ancient DNA errors, but found no indication of systematic bias (Wang et al., 2015). However, we did find evidence of substructure within the Sidon individuals, and some but not all were consistent with forming a clade with inland Southern Levant populations, a finding that could reflect substantial cosmopolitan nature of this coastal site (Methods S1C, see Discussion).” ref

“To reveal subtler population structure, we repeated the qpWave analysis adding outgroups that are genetically closer to the test groups, such as Armenia_MLBA and Natufian (Figure 3). With this more powerful set of outgroups, Baq‛ah and Megiddo_IBA also provide evidence of not being pairwise clades with the remaining groups. Thus, beyond the broad observation of genetic affinities between sites, we also observe subtle ancestry heterogeneity across the region during the Bronze Age (see Discussion). Gene Flow into the Southern Levant During the Bronze Age: Two previous studies of Bronze Age individuals from ‘Ain Ghazal and Sidon modeled them as derived from a mixture of earlier local groups (Levant_N) and groups related to peoples of the Chalcolithic Zagros mountains (Iran_ChL) (Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016). These groups were estimated to harbor around 56%±±3% and 48%±±4% Neolithic Levant-related ancestry for ‘Ain Ghazal (Lazaridis et al., 2016) and Sidon (Haber et al., 2017), respectively. We used qpAdm to estimate that Bronze and Iron Age Ashkelon (ASH_LBA and ASH_IA2) carry 54%±±5% and 42%±±5% Neolithic Levant-related ancestry, respectively. Next, we used qpAdm to test the same model for the data reported here and found that most Middle-to-Late Bronze Age groups fit the model, with point estimates of 48%–57% Levant_N ancestry. These ancestry proportions are statistically indistinguishable (Bonferroni-corrected z test), which corroborates the fact that they are consistent with forming pairwise clades in qpWave (Table S2; Methods S1D). The only group that failed to fit this model was Baq‛ah (p = 0.0003), even when using a wide range of outgroup populations (Table S2). This might be a result of ancestry heterogeneity across the Baq‛ah individuals. To obtain insight into the Zagros-related ancestry component, we focused on two questions: what is the likely origin of this ancestry component and what is its likely timing? Although people of the Chalcolithic Zagros are so far the best proxy population for this ancestry component, there is no archaeological evidence for cultural spread directly from the Zagros into the Southern Levant during the Bronze Age. In contrast, there is archaeological support for connections between Bronze Age Southern Levant groups and the Caucasus (Greenberg and Goren, 2009), a term we use to represent both present-day Caucasus, as well as neighboring regions such as eastern Anatolia (see Discussion). With regard to the timing of these events, archaeology points to cultural affinities between the Kura-Araxes (Caucasus) and Khirbet Kerak (Southern Levant) archaeological cultures in the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE (Greenberg and Goren, 2009), and textual evidence documents a number of non-Semitic, Hurrian (from the northeast of the ancient Near East) personal names in the 2nd millennium BCE, for example in the Amarna archive of the 14th century BCE (Na’aman, 1994b). The reserchers, therefore, reasoned that the Chalcolithic Zagros component might have arrived into the Southern Levant through the Caucasus (and even more proximately the northeastern areas of the ancient Near East, although we have no ancient DNA sampling from this region). This movement might not have been limited to a short pulse, and instead could have involved multiple waves throughout the Bronze Age. To test whether the origin of the gene flow was from the Caucasus, rather than directly from the Zagros region, we ran qpAdm, replacing Iran_ChL with Early Bronze Age Caucasus (Armenia_EBA). We found that the Caucasus model received similar support to that of the Zagros model (Table S2; Methods S1E). Next, we modeled Armenia_EBA as a mixture of an earlier Caucasus population (Chalcolithic Armenia, Armenia_ChL) and Iran_ChL and found that indeed Armenia_EBA is compatible with this model (Table S2). Altogether, we conclude that our data are also compatible with a model in which Zagros-related ancestry in the Southern Levant arrived through the Caucasus, either directly or via intermediates.” ref

“To study the timing of the admixture of Zagros-related ancestry in the Southern Levant, we leveraged the large time span of individuals in our dataset, extending across roughly 1,500 years, from the Intermediate Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Using qpAdm-based ancestry estimates for each of the individuals, we found that almost all are compatible with being an admixture of groups related to the Neolithic Levant and Chalcolithic Zagros. One exception to this is an individual in Megiddo_MLBA that is weakly compatible with the model. Another exception is three individuals in the Baq’ah (Table S2), which suggests that the difficulty in modeling individuals from this site as a mixture of Neolithic Levant and Chalcolithic Zagros might reflect ancestry heterogeneity (Figure 3). These results do not change qualitatively when we used a larger set of outgroup populations (Table S2). We observed that the oldest individuals in our collection, from the Intermediate Bronze Age, already carried significant Zagros-related ancestry, suggesting that gene flow into the region started before ca. 2400 BCE. This is consistent with the hypothesis that people of Kura-Araxes archaeological complex of the 3rd millennium BCE might have affected the Southern Levant not only culturally, but also through some degree of movement of people. Our data also imply an increase in the proportion of Zagros-related ancestry after the Intermediate Bronze Age, as reflected in a significantly positive slope in a linear regression of the Chalcolithic-Zagros-related ancestry over the calendar year (β=1.4⋅104±0.4⋅104β=1.4⋅104±0.4⋅104, Jackknife), amounting to an increase of ∼14% per thousand years (Figures 4 and S2A). However, we caution that the number of individuals and their time span are insufficient to determine whether the increase in the Zagros-related ancestry happened continuously during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, or whether there were multiple distinct migration events. The two outliers from Megiddo (three including the sibling pair) provide additional evidence for the timing and origin of gene flow into the region. The three were found in close proximity to each other at Level K-10, which is radiocarbon dated to 1581–1545 BCE (domestic occupation) and 1578–1421 BCE (burials; both ± 1 s) (Martin et al., 2020, Toffolo et al., 2014), whereas the bone of one of the three (I10100) was directly dated (1688–1535 BCE, ± 2Σ). The reason these individuals are distinct from the rest is that their Caucasus- or Zagros-related genetic component is much higher, reflecting ongoing gene flow into the region from the northeast (Table S2; Figure S2B). The Neolithic Levant component is 22%–27% in I2200, and 9%–26% in I10100. These individuals are unlikely to be first generation migrants, as strontium isotope analysis on the two outlier siblings (I2189 and I2200) (Methods S1A) suggests that they were raised locally. This implies that the Megiddo outliers might be descendants of people who arrived in recent generations. Direct support for this hypothesis comes from the fact that in sensitive qpAdm modeling (including closely related sets of outgroups), the only working northeast source population for these two individuals is the contemporaneous Armenia_MLBA, whereas the earlier Iran_ChL and Armenia_EBA do not fit (Table S2). The addition of Iran_ChL to the set of outgroups does not change this result or cause model failure. Finally, no other Levantine group shows a similar admixture pattern (Table S2). This shows that some level of gene flow into the Levant took place during the later phases of the Bronze Age and suggests that the source of this gene flow was the Caucasus. Altogether, our analyses show that gene flow into the Levant from people related to those in the Caucasus or Zagros was already occurring by the Intermediate Bronze Age, and that it lingered, episodically or continuously, at least in inland sites, during the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age.” ref

Further Change in Levantine Populations Since the Bronze Age

“To develop a sense of population changes in the Levant since the Bronze Age, we attempted to model groups that have a tradition of descent from ancient people in the region (Jews) as well as Levantine Arabic-speakers as mixtures of various ancient source populations. qpAdm assumes no admixture between groups related to the outgroups and the source populations, but almost all present-day Levantine and Mediterranean populations have significant sub-Saharan-African-related admixture that the ancient groups did not. This eliminates many key outgroups for qpAdm and reduces the utility of the method in this context. In particular, we were not able to apply qpAdm to get a single working model for the majority of present-day West Eurasian populations. As an alternative, we developed a methodology we call LINADMIX, which relies on the output of ADMIXTURE (Alexander et al., 2009) and uses constrained least-squares to estimate the contribution of given source populations to a target population (see STAR Methods). As a complementary approach, we developed a tool we call pseudo-haplotype ChromoPainter (PHCP), which is an adaptation of the haplotype-based method ChromoPainter (Lawson et al., 2012) to ancient genomes (see STAR Methods; Methods S1F). We first established that these methods provide meaningful estimates of ancestry in the context of this study by using them to re-compute the ancestry proportions that we were able to model with qpAdm. Both LINADMIX and PHCP (Table S3; Figure S3; Methods S1F) produce qualitatively similar estimates as qpAdm (Table S2). To further establish the methods, we performed simulations that were designed to test the methods’ abilities to infer ancestry proportions in present-day populations in a setup similar to the current study (Methods S1H). For this, we generated present-day populations as a mixture of two closely related ancient populations with and without a third, more distant, population. Both methods estimated the ancestry proportion of the distant source population with errors of up to 4% and the proportions of the closely related source populations with errors of up to 10%. Thus, although ADMIXTURE, the basis of LINADMIX, is known to have certain pitfalls as a tool for quantifying ancestry proportions (Lawson et al., 2018), in the case of individuals with ancestry sources similar to those we have analyzed here, our results suggest that both LINADMIX and PHCP are highly informative. For the LINADMIX analysis of present-day populations, we used a background dataset of 1,663 present-day and ancient individuals from 239 populations genotyped by using SNP arrays and focused our analysis on 14 Jewish and Levantine present-day populations, along with modern English, Tuscan, and Moroccan populations that were used as controls. We used LINADMIX to model each of the 17 present-day populations as an admixture of four sources: (1) Megiddo_MLBA (the largest group) as a representative of the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age component; (2) Iran_ChL as a representative of the Zagros and the Caucasus; (3) Present-day Somalis as representatives of an Eastern African source (in the absence of genetic data on ancient populations from the region); and (4) Europe_LNBA as a representative of ancient Europeans from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (Methods S1I; Table S4; Figure S4). We also applied PHCP to these 17 present-day populations (Methods S1G; Table S4; Figure S4). Comparison of PHCP and LINADMIX shows that they agree well with respect to the Somali and Europe_LNBA component, and therefore also for the combined contribution of Iran_ChL and Megiddo_MLBA (Methods S1G; Figure S4). However, they deviate regarding the respective contributions of Iran_ChL and Megiddo_MLBA (Figure S4), likely because of the fact that the Megiddo_MLBA and Iran_ChL are already very similar populations (Table S3). To only consider results that are robust and shared by LINADMIX and PHCP, we have combined Megiddo_MLBA and Iran_ChL to a single source population representing the Middle East for our main results (Figure 5). We further verified these conclusions, as well as the robustness of the estimations, by using a different representative for the Bronze Age Levantine groups as a source (Tables S4 and S5; Methods S1J) and using perturbations to the ADMIXTURE parameters (Table S4; Methods S1K). Combined, these results suggest that modern populations related to the Levant are consistent with having a substantial ancestry component from the Bronze Age Southern Levant and the Chalcolithic Zagros. Nonetheless, other potential ancestry sources are possible, and more ancient samples might enable a refined picture (Table S4).” ref

The results show that since the Bronze Age, an additional East-African-related component was added to the region (on average ∼10.6%, excluding Ethiopian Jews who harbor ∼80% East African component), as well as a European-related component (on average ∼8.7%, excluding Ashkenazi Jews who harbor a ∼41% European-related component). The East-African-related component is highest in Ethiopian Jews and North Africans (Moroccans and Egyptians). It exists in all Arabic-speaking populations (apart from the Druze). The European-related component is highest in the European control populations (English and Tuscan), as well as in Ashkenazi and Moroccan Jews, both having a history in Europe (Atzmon et al., 2010, Carmi et al., 2014, Schroeter, 2008). This component is present, although in smaller amount, in all other populations except for Bedouin B and Ethiopian Jews. As expected, the English and Tuscan populations have a very low Middle-Eastern-related component. Whereas LINADMIX and PHCP have high uncertainty in estimating the relative contributions of Megiddo_MLBA and Iran_ChL, the results and simulations nevertheless suggest that additional Zagros-related ancestry has penetrated the region since the Bronze Age (Methods S1I). Except for the populations with the highest Zagros-related component, PHCP estimates lower magnitudes of this component (Figure S4A), and therefore detection by PHCP of a Zagros-related ancestry is likely an indication for the presence of this component. Indeed, examining the results of LINADMIX and PHCP on all four source populations (Figure S4), we observe a relatively large Zagros-related component in many Arabic-speaking groups, suggesting that gene flow from populations related to those of the Zagros and Caucasus (although not necessarily from these specific regions) continued even after the Iron Age (Methods S1I). Altogether, the patterns of the present-day populations reflect demographic processes that occurred after the Bronze Age and are plausibly related to processes known from the historical literature (Methods S1I). These include an Eastern-African-related component that is present in Arabic-speaking groups but is lower in non-Ethiopian Jewish groups, as well as Zagros-related contribution to Levantine populations, which is highest in the northernmost population examined, suggesting a contribution of populations related to the Zagros even after the Bronze and Iron Ages. The results provide a comprehensive genetic picture of the primary inhabitants of the Southern Levant during the 2nd millennium BCE, known in the historical record and based on shared material culture as “Canaanites.” We carried out a detailed analysis aimed at answering three basic questions: how genetically homogeneous were these people, what were their plausible origins with respect to earlier peoples, and how much change in ancestry has there been in the region since the Bronze Age? Earlier genetic analyses modeled the genomes of Middle-to-Late Bronze Age people of the Southern Levant as having almost equal shares of earlier local populations (Levant_N) and populations that are related to the Chalcolithic Zagros (Feldman et al., 2019, Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016), suggesting a movement from the northeast into the Southern Levant. Here, we provide more details on this process, taking into account evidence from both archaeology and our temporally and geographically diverse genetic data. Because there is little archaeological evidence of a direct cultural connection between the Southern Levant and the Zagros region in this period, the Caucasus is a more likely source for this ancestry. We used our data to compare these two scenarios and concluded that the genetic data are compatible with both.” ref

“The Megiddo outliers, which we inferred to be relative newcomers to the region, are particularly important in demonstrating that the gene flow continued throughout the Bronze Age and that at least some of the gene flow likely came from the Caucasus rather than the Zagros. These two individuals have the highest proportions of Zagros- or Caucasian-related ancestry in our dataset. Analysis of these outliers gave significantly stronger evidence of a Caucasus source compared with a Zagros one, although this conclusion might be revised once ancient DNA data from the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age in the Zagros region become available. The two Megiddo individuals with the next lowest Neolithic Levant component (I10769 and I10770, brothers) were found near the monumental tomb that was likely related to the palace at Megiddo, raising the possibility that they might be associated with the ruling caste. Indeed, a ruler of Taanach (a town located immediately to the south of Megiddo) mentioned in a 15th century BCE cuneiform tablet found at the site and the rulers of Megiddo and Taanach mentioned in the 14th century BCE Amarna letters (found in Egypt) carry Hurrian names (a language spoken in the northeast of the ancient Near East, possibly including the Caucasus) (Na’aman, 1994b). This provides some evidence—albeit so far only suggestive—that at least some of the ruling groups in these (and other) cities might have originated from the northeast of the ancient Near East. The Caucasus is represented in this study by ancient groups from the present-day country of Armenia, but the region known to have had cultural ties with the Southern Levant is much broader. Evidence of cultural effects on the Southern Levant is mainly focused on the Kura-Araxes culture during the Early Bronze Age (archaeology) and on the Hurrians during the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age (linguistic testimony). These two complexes were spread over the Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia, and neighboring regions. The Armenian sites we analyzed are the best representatives to date of these cultures. The Early Bronze Age individuals from Armenia (Armenia_EBA) come from an Early Bronze Age Kura-Araxes burial ground, and the later Middle-to-Late Bronze Age individuals (Armenia_MLBA) come from the Aragatsotn Province in northwestern Armenia. It is important to note that the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Anatolian individuals analyzed in this study come from the northwestern part of Anatolia, which is not part of the Caucasus. The Chalcolithic Zagros individuals come from the Kangavar Valley in Iran, which is located on the border of the Kura-Araxes influence.” ref

“The term “Canaanites” is loosely defined, referring to a collection of groups (which in the Bronze Age were organized in a city-state system) and thus in principle could lack genetic coherence. The individuals examined here cover a wide geographic span—coming from nine sites in present-day Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Our analyses revealed that, with the exception of Sidon (and to a smaller extent the individuals of the Baq‛ah), they are homogeneous in the sense of being closer to each other than to other contemporary and neighboring populations. This suggests that the archaeological and historical category of “Canaanites” correlates with shared ancestry (Eisenmann et al., 2018). This resembles the pattern observed in the Aegean basin during the 2nd millennium BCE, where the cultural categories of “Minoan” and “Mycenaean” show evidence of genetic homogeneity across multiple sites albeit with potentially subtle ancestry differences within these groupings (Lazaridis et al., 2017). Another example is the “Yamnaya” pastoralists of late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BCE in the western Eurasian Steppe (Allentoft et al., 2015, Haak et al., 2015). This contrasts with the pattern seen in other places, such as for the Bell Beaker cultural complex of the 2nd millennium BCE (Olalde et al., 2018), where people sharing similar cultural practices had widely varying ancestry. In any case, the detection of such associations—as we do here—cannot by itself prove that group identities in the past were related to genetics. From the groups we have examined, the only one that is somewhat diverged from the rest is Sidon. We provide evidence against the possibility that this observation is a batch effect (Methods S1C). Rather, we suggest that the relative remoteness of Sidon stems from the fact that this population is genetically heterogeneous and has different individuals showing resemblance to different Southern Levantine groups (Methods S1C). During the 2nd millennium BCE, Sidon was a major port city and was connected in trading relations with the eastern Mediterranean basin, which could have led to a significant genetic inflow, making its population more heterogeneous than that of inland cities. This might also be the reason that the site that most resembles Sidon is Ashkelon, which is another coastal site. The only inland population that resembles Sidon is Abel Beth Maacah, perhaps because of its geographic proximity (Figures 1A and 2). Apart from Sidon, Baq‛ah also shows some minor deviations from the rest when taking a richer set of outgroup populations (Figure 3). The Baq‛ah is located on the fringe of the Syrian desert, therefore this population might be admixed with more eastern groups, which are not yet genetically sampled. This might be reflected by the fact that the individuals of the Baq‛ah also show some degree of variability in their ancestry patterns (Table S2).” ref

“Although this study focuses on the Bronze Age, it also reports two new samples from the Iron Age—one from Megiddo and the other from Abel Beth Maacah. These two individuals show ancestry patterns that are very similar to those observed in the Middle and Late Bronze Age individuals (Figure 4), suggesting that the destruction at the end of the Bronze Age in the region did not necessarily lead to genetic discontinuity in each and every site. Notably, both Abel Beth Maacah and Megiddo are inland cities, and their genetic continuity throughout the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age might not be representative of other sites in the region. For example, one of the two Iron Age populations in the Philistine coastal city of Ashkelon (ASH_IA1) showed evidence of mobility of populations related to southern Europe around the Bronze Age to Iron Age transition (Feldman et al., 2019). Estimating the ancestry proportions in present-day Middle Eastern populations with substantial sub-Saharan African admixture (as well as multiple sources of admixture from different parts of the Mediterranean), is difficult. We addressed the problem by developing two statistical techniques and then testing the robustness of our inference on the basis of a comparison between these methods, simulations, and perturbations of the input (see STAR Methods; Methods S1F–S1K). We examined 14 present-day populations that are historically or geographically linked to the Southern Levant and tested the contributions of East Africa, Europe, and the Middle East (combining Southern Levant Bronze Age populations and Zagros-related Chalcolithic ones) to their ancestry. We found that both Arabic-speaking and Jewish populations are compatible with having more than 50% Middle-Eastern-related ancestry. This does not mean that any these present-day groups bear direct ancestry from people who lived in the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age Levant or in Chalcolithic Zagros; rather, it indicates that they have ancestries from populations whose ancient proxy can be related to the Middle East. The Zagros- or Caucasian-related ancestry flow into the region apparently continued after the Bronze Age. We also see an Eastern-African-related ancestry entering the region after the Bronze Age with an approximate south-to-north gradient. In addition, we observe a European-related ancestry with the opposite gradient (north-to-south). Given the difficulties in separating the ancestry components arriving from the Southern Levant and the Zagros, an important direction for future work will be to reconstruct in high resolution the ancestry trajectories of each present-day group, and to understand how people from the Southern Levant Bronze Age mixed with other people in later periods in the context of processes known from the rich archaeological and historical records of the last three millennia.” ref

“The Kura-Araxes cultural tradition is reflected in the mountains north, east and west of Mesopotamia from the mid-fourth to mid-third millennia BC. Originating in the Armenian Highlands and its subset the South Caucasus, it developed over that period, and also spread across a wide area of the Taurus and Zagros mountains, down into the Southern Levant, and north beyond the Caucasus Mountains. Despite many decades of excavation of sites relating to this cultural tradition, we know surprisingly little about the societies of the homelands and their relationship to their migrant diaspora. This paper looks at one aspect of those cultures, ritual practice and ideology, to see if it is possibly better to define the nature of and changes in Kura-Araxes societies within the homelands, and their possible relationship to migrant communities.” ref

“Excavation of the early 3rd millennium levels at Arslantepe-Malatya, which reveal substantial changes following the collapse of the Late Chalcolithic centralized system in connection with the establishment of new groups linked to the Kura-Araxes culture . The new data show that these early 3rd millennium settlements, besides marking a break with respect to the earlier Chalcolithic period and a radically new organization, interestingly also show more elements of continuity than previously thought in the maintenance of a central role for Arslantepe in the Malatya region and in the continuation of some traditions such as those related to metallurgy. Rather than a momentary intrusion of pastoral communities of Transcaucasian origin, the new picture suggests the temporary appropriation of the site by mobile, probably transhumant groups moving in a wide area around the plain and already well-rooted in the region; after the destruction of the 4th millennium (4000 through 3000 BCE or around 6,020 to 5,020 years ago) palace, they used Arslantepe as their power center and landmark, probably competing with the local rural population for the control of the site and the region. This article presents the main results obtained during the recent excavation of levels from the beginning of the 3rd millennium in Arslantepe-Malatya, levels which revealed profound changes after the collapse of the centralized system of the Late Chalcolithic, in connection with the installation. on the site new population groups linked to the Kura-Araxe culture. Besides the fact that they mark a break with the Chalcolithic and testify to a radically new organization, recent data show that these occupations of the beginning of the 3rd millennium also present more elements of continuity than previously thought in the maintenance of the central role d’Arslantepe in the region of Malatya and in the pursuit of certain traditions such as those related to metallurgy. The image that is emerging now suggests the temporary appropriation of the site by mobile groups, probably transhumant, moving over a large area around the [Malatya] plain and already well established in this region, more than a temporary intrusion. pastoral communities from Transcaucasia. After the destruction of the 4th millennium palace.” ref

The formative processes of the Kura-Araxes cultural complex, and the date and circumstances of its rise, have been long debated. Shulaveri-Shomu culture preceded the Kura–Araxes culture in the area. There were many differences between these two cultures, so the connection was not clear. Later, it was suggested that the Sioni culture of eastern Georgia possibly represented a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex. At many sites, the Sioni culture layers can be seen as intermediary between Shulaver-Shomu-Tepe layers and the Kura-Araxes layers. This kind of stratigraphy warrants a chronological place of the Sioni culture at around 4000 BCE. Nowadays scholars consider the Kartli area, as well as the Kakheti area (in the river Sioni region) as key to forming the earliest phase of the Kura–Araxes culture. To a large extent, this appears as an indigenous culture of Caucasus that was formed over a long period, and at the same time incorporating foreign influences. There are some indications (such as at Arslantepe) of the overlapping in time of the Kura-Araxes and Uruk cultures; such contacts may go back even to the Middle Uruk period. Some scholars have suggested that the earliest manifestation of the Kura-Araxes phenomenon should be dated at least to the last quarter of the 5th millennium BC. This is based on the recent data from Ovçular Tepesi, a Late Chalcolithic settlement located in Nakhchivan by the Arpaçay river.” ref

Kura-Araxes Cultural Expansion

“They proceed westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, and to the southeast into the area of Lake Van, and below the Urmia basin in Iran, such as to Godin Tepe. Finally, it proceeded into present-day Syria (Amuq valley), and as far as Palestine. Its territory corresponds to large parts of modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, and parts of Iran and Turkey. At Sos Hoyuk, in Erzurum Province, Turkey, early forms of Kura-Araxes pottery were found in association with local ceramics as early as 3500-3300 BC. During the Early Bronze Age in 3000-2200 BC, this settlement was part of the Kura-Araxes phenomenon. At Arslantepe, Turkey, around 3000 BCE, there was widespread burning and destruction, after which Kura-Araxes pottery appeared in the area. According to Geoffrey Summers, the movement of Kura-Araxes peoples into Iran and the Van region, which he interprets as quite sudden, started shortly before 3000 BC, and may have been prompted by the ‘Late Uruk Collapse’ (end of the Uruk period), taking place at the end of Uruk IV phase c. 3100 BC.” ref

“Archaeological evidence of inhabitants of the Kura–Araxes culture showed that ancient settlements were found along the Hrazdan river, as shown by drawings at a mountainous area in a cave nearby. Structures in settlements have not revealed much differentiation, nor was there much difference in size or character between settlements, facts that suggest they probably had a poorly developed social hierarchy for a significant stretch of their history. Some, but not all, settlements were surrounded by stone walls. They built mud-brick houses, originally round, but later developing into subrectangular designs with structures of just one or two rooms, multiple rooms centered around an open space, or rectilinear designs. At some point, the culture’s settlements and burial grounds expanded out of lowland river valleys and into highland areas. Although some scholars have suggested that this expansion demonstrates a switch from agriculture to pastoralism and that it serves as possible proof of a large-scale arrival of Indo-Europeans, facts such as that settlement in the lowlands remained more or less continuous suggest merely that the people of this culture were diversifying their economy to encompass crop and livestock agriculture. Shengavit Settlement is a prominent Kura-Araxes site in present-day Yerevan area in Armenia. It was inhabited from approximately 3200 BC cal to 2500 BC cal. Later on, in the Middle Bronze Age, it was used irregularly until 2200 BC cal. The town occupied an area of six hectares, which is large for Kura-Araxes sites.” ref

Kura-Araxes Ritual Mounds

“In the 3rd millennium B.C., one particular group of mounds of the Kura–Araxes culture is remarkable for their wealth. This was the final stage of culture’s development. These burial mounds are known as the Martqopi (or Martkopi) period mounds. Those on the left bank of the river Alazani are often 20–25 meters high and 200–300 meters in diameter. They contain especially rich artefacts, such as gold and silver jewelry. 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. Analyzing the situation in the Kura-Araxes period, T.A. Akhundov notes the lack of unity in funerary monuments, which he considers more than strange in the framework of a single culture; for the funeral rites reflect the deep culture-forming foundations and are weakly influenced by external customs. There are non-kurgan and kurgan burials, burials in-ground pits, in stone boxes and crypts, in the underlying ground strata, and on top of them; using both the round and rectangular burials; there are also substantial differences in the typical corpse position. Burial complexes of Kura–Araxes culture sometimes also include cremation. 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.” ref

‘Origin of Early Transcaucasian Culture (aka Kura-Araxes culture)

From the paper:

Akhundov (2007) recently uncovered pre-Kura-Araxes/Late Chalcolithic materials  from the settlement of Boyuk Kesik and the kurgan necropolis of Soyuq Bulaq in  northwestern Azerbaijan, and Makharadze (2007) has also excavated a pre-Kura-Araxes  kurgan, Kavtiskhevi, in central Georgia. Materials recovered from both these recent  excavations can be related to remains from the metal-working Late Chalcolithic site  of Leilatepe on the Karabakh steppe near Agdam (Narimanov et al. 2007) and from  the earliest level at the multi-period site of Berikldeebi in Kvemo Kartli (Glonti and Dzavakhishvili 1987). They reveal the presence of early 4th millennium raised burial  mounds or kurgans in the southern Caucasus. Similarly, on the basis of her survey work  in eastern Anatolia north of the Oriental Taurus mountains, C. Marro (2007)likens chafffaced wares collected at Hanago in the Sürmeli Plain and Astepe and Colpan in the eastern  Lake Van district in northeastern Turkey with those found at the sites mentioned above  and relates these to similar wares (Amuq E/F) found south of the Taurus Mountains in  northern Mesopotamia

The new high dating of the Maikop culture essentially signifies that there is no
chronological hiatus separating the collapse of the Chalcolithic Balkan centre of
metallurgical production and the appearance of Maikop and the sudden explosion of  Caucasian metallurgical production and use of arsenical copper/bronzes.
More than  forty calibrated radiocarbon dates on Maikop and related materials now support this high  chronology; and the revised dating for the Maikop culture means that the earliest kurgans  occur in the northwestern and southern Caucasus and precede by several centuries those of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) cultures of the western Eurasian steppes (cf. Chernykh and Orlovskaya 2004a and b). The calibrated radiocarbon dates suggest that the Maikop ‘culture’ seems to have had a formative influence on steppe kurgan burial rituals and what now appears to be the later development of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture on the Eurasian steppes (Chernykh and Orlovskaya 2004a: 97).

In other words, sometime around the middle of the 4th millennium BCE or slightly subsequent to the initial appearance of the Maikop culture of the NW Caucasus, settlements containing proto-Kura-Araxes or early Kura-Araxes materials first appear across a broad area that stretches from the Caspian littoral of the northeastern Caucasus in the north to the Erzurum region of the Anatolian Plateau in the west. For simplicity’s sake these roughly simultaneous developments across this broad area will be considered as representing the beginnings of the Early Bronze Age or the initial stages of development of the KuraAraxes/Early Transcaucasian culture.

The ‘homeland’ (itself a very problematic concept) of the Kura-Araxes culture-historical community is difficult to pinpoint precisely, a fact that may suggest that there is no single well-demarcated area of origin, but multiple interacting areas including northeastern Anatolia as far as the Erzurum area, the catchment area drained by the Upper Middle Kura and Araxes Rivers in Transcaucasia and the Caspian corridor and adjacent mountainous regions of northeastern Azerbaijan and southeastern Daghestan. While broadly (and somewhat imprecisely) defined, these regions constitute on present evidence the original core area out of which the Kura-Araxes ‘culture-historical community’ emerged.

Kura-Araxes materials found in other areas are primarily intrusive in the local sequences. Indeed, many, but not all, sites in the Malatya area along the Upper Euphrates drainage of eastern Anatolia (e.g., Norsun-tepe, Arslantepe) and western Iran (e.g., Yanik Tepe, Godin Tepe) exhibit— albeit with some overlap—a relatively sharp break in material remains, including new forms of architecture and domestic dwellings, and such changes support the interpretation of a subsequent spread or dispersal from this broadly defined core area in the north to the southwest and southeast. The archaeological record seems to document a movement of peoples north to south across a very extensive part of the Ancient Near East from the end of the 4th to the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE. Although migrations are notoriously difficult to document on archaeological evidence, these materials constitute one of the best examples of prehistoric movements of peoples available for the Early Bronze Age.” ref

Origins, Homelands and Migrations: Situating the Kura-Araxes Early Transcaucasian ‘Culture’ within the History of Bronze Age Eurasia

“This paper summarizes the current understanding of the emergence, nature and subsequent southwestern and southeastern spread of the early Transcaucasian (eTC) or Kura-Araxes ‘culture-historical community’ (Russian: obshchnost’) and then places this complex cultural phenomenon in the context of the larger early Bronze Age world of the Ancient Near East and the western Eurasian steppes.” ref

Early Bronze Age migrants and ethnicity in the Middle Eastern mountain zone

“This analysis shows the complex interaction of ethnic groups in antiquity, adapting to new locations and adopting and ultimately, assimilating into a majority culture. It occurs in a background of mountain valleys and highland plains, where ever-shifting populations carve out a living and an identity.” ref


“The Kura-Araxes cultural tradition existed in the highlands of the South Caucasus from 3500 to 2450 BCE (before the Christian era). This tradition represented an adaptive regime and a symbolically encoded common identity spread over a broad area of patchy mountain environments. By 3000 BCE, groups bearing this identity had migrated southwest across a wide area from the Taurus Mountains down into the southern Levant, southeast along the Zagros Mountains, and north across the Caucasus Mountains. In these new places, they became effectively ethnic groups amid already heterogeneous societies. This paper addresses the place of migrants among local populations as ethnicities and the reasons for their disappearance in the diaspora after 2450 BCE.” ref

Kura-Araxes Case

“The societies of the so-called Kura-Araxes cultural tradition that emerged in the highlands during the fourth millennium and continued into the early third millennium BCE (before the Christian era)—Shengavitian, Karaz, Pulur, Yanik, Early Transcaucasian, and Khirbet Kerak are some of its other names—present scholars of the Greater Middle East and Eurasia with a laboratory for studying the evolution of human cultures and the societies that they spawned in highland zones, a topic much studied in ethnography and less so in archaeology.” ref

Kura-Araxes as a Cultural Tradition.

“How do we know that we are dealing with groups of ethnic migrants? The commonly cited answer is that the Kura-Araxes groups are marked by distinctive pottery styles (Fig). This pottery corpus consists of very distinctive handmade, black burnished pottery, often with incised or raised designs. In the latter, a thick layer is added, and then, all but the design is removed, like a faux appliqué. The cultural importance of this pottery style is that it dominates the area of the earliest appearance of the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition for a millennium or more. In areas out of the homeland of the South Caucasus [the current nation-states of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbijan (specifically Nachiçevan), and northeastern Turkey], the same pottery begins to appear, most prominently in the late fourth and early third millennia BCE. Its contrast with the local buff, wheel-made pottery makes the Kura-Araxes black ware seem out of place.” ref

“Based on this fact, archaeologists have argued that this pottery represents migrants, who became, in effect, ethnic groups within the areas of the Taurus Mountains, the Zagros Mountains, the Amuq, Galilee, and north of the Caucasus Mountains. Whereas the idea that pottery style alone can define social groups—pots equal peoples—is suspect and was used by many 19th and early 20th century archaeologists to reach rather unsophisticated and frankly, wrong conclusions about social process, in this case, it may be valid. More than simple style is evident. Based on studies of the inclusions in the fabric of pottery bodies—pure clay cannot be used to make stable pottery without the addition of tempering materials—petrographers who study the makeup of pottery fabric determined that the residents of Bet Yeraḥ (Khirbet Kerak) in the Southern Levantine Early Bronze III (2650 BCE) were using the same techniques as those of Kura-Araxes sites hundreds of years earlier and as many kilometers away in Armenia. The Kura-Araxes/Khirbet Kerak people and the local Early Bronze III people did not even use the same clay sources, except for some cooking pot wares.” ref

“In addition, a repeated pattern of migration is evident. In the Muş Province west of Lake Van, new sites appeared in the mountainous areas with early Kura-Araxes pottery followed by the appearance of greater population (determined by number of sites and total hectares) in the valley bottom. In the latest phases, residents were using pottery that was a fusion of Kura-Araxes and local Late Chalcolithic techniques. Farther west in the Taurus and the Levant, another pattern appeared. Archaeologists found small percentages of Kura-Araxes pottery first at central (or town) sites followed by the appearance of small sites dominated entirely by people using Kura-Araxes–styled pottery. At the same time, Frangipane and Palumbi argue that, in the Upper Euphrates area near Arslantepe (Fig), the fourth millennium BCE black burnished ware is not the same as the Kura-Araxes ware, deriving instead from central Anatolia to the west. In the Zagros, Kura-Araxes wares, often with design techniques different from those farther west, appear in newly founded and central sites, whereas neighboring areas lack any evidence of Kura-Araxes presence (pottery).” ref

“This ethnic identity is not, however, limited to pottery style. Archaeologists found remains of a common religious ritual that spans large areas of the South Caucasian homeland and the immigrant diaspora. This common religious practice is represented by a type of ritual emplacement with decorated fireplaces (either ceramic or a free-standing andiron). House construction and layouts are also distinct. These practices indicate common structures of social groups (family) and activities. Metals items also share common design patterns, especially in decorative objects. Spiral earrings and pins with two spiral ends occur across the range of the Kura-Araxes. Taken together, these different kinds of data suggest that there were Kura-Araxes ethnic groups within a large expanse of the upper Middle East, mostly in mountainous zones. To the west of the homeland, they were, in most cases, a minority within their new homelands and did not dominate or replace the local populations. In the Zagros to the east, they seem to be more dominant (see below). According to definitions of ethnicity by Barth and Gross, they had the key elements of ethnic groups. They shared a symbolic identity, which was distinct and recognizable from their surrounding populations, and maintained a field of communication and interaction that extended all of the way back to their homeland. If the ritual practices are widespread—we have only a few excavated examples—their common religious ritual certainly represents a common set of values.” ref

“Furthermore, Anthony relates these kinds of common ideological and ethnic identifiers through style (in this case, pottery, architecture, and metals) to language, one of the most prominent components of ethnographically and historically documented ethnic groups. Anthony correlates distinctive regional languages and dialects to what he calls “Material-Culture Frontiers”. These frontiers are created by different sources of immigration and also, different ecological boundaries. The more self-sufficient that a group is in a particular environment, the more likely that they will tend toward a local language and a local, more homogeneous cultural style. This pattern may explain, in part, the many local variations in Kura-Araxes pottery designs and shapes, even in the homeland. However, in less certain environments or ones that require resources from a broad set of ecological niches, greater variability in language will exist. The latter describes, in part, the highland domain of the Kura-Araxes.” ref

Kura-Araxes in Broader Ecological Context.

“Issues of ecology and adaptation to local conditions within a broader geographical context are important in understanding ethnic identity and change. The Kura-Araxes homeland and the vast majority of its diaspora were mountainous environments. These environments go from the narrow valleys of the higher elevations in areas, like Shida Kartli, to the broader lower elevation plains, like Ararat. All are in fairly marginal zones for agricultural, although rich in pastureland. One of the largest issues remaining to be resolved is the nature of the broader effect of intercultural interaction on reasons for migration (see below) and the comparison of the lowland and highland cultural structures. Archaeologists are still investigating direct relationships between the South Caucasian homeland and its adjoining regions. The raw materials for metal production north of the Caucasus (the Maikop) certainly were mined in the South Caucasus. Whether the Kura-Araxes societies were the source of metal technology—this possibility has long been a supposition of archaeologists—is now being questioned. Certainly, the Taurus and Zagros, where Kura-Araxes migrants went, are the key resources areas for the developing state societies of Mesopotamia. The “supercities” of the Ukraine in the fourth millennium BCE, which are thought to be a result of exchange through the Mesopotamian Uruk expansion trading network, had to pass through the South Caucasus. Archaeologists found fourth millennium BCE northern Mesopotamian pottery styles in the Kura-Araxes area of Georgia, and the precursors of the Kura-Araxes exhibit Mesopotamian-related styles.” ref

“However, from what we know of the effects of the trading relationship with Mesopotamia on local societal development in other parts of the mountain zone, such effects are not evident in the Kura-Araxes homeland. Societies and ethnic groups exhibiting the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition are a contrast to contemporary Mesopotamian societies. They were not urban societies, and as far as we can tell, they initially had subsistence economies. They had a greater reliance on pastoral than agricultural products. Their productive technologies seem to have been tied to local resources, such as obsidian and flint; copper ores; semiprecious stones, like carnelian; and indigenous plants, such as wheat, barley, and grapes. Their social organization exhibited less centralization and less social differentiation than in Mesopotamia.” ref

Causes of Migration.

“To understand the role and the fate of ethnic groups in the diaspora, four questions need to be addressed. (i) Why did they emigrate in the first place? (ii) How does that reflect their place in the local societies? (iii) How did their new setting get reflected in their societies? (iv) In this case, why did they, in effect, disappear after 2500 BCE. as a distinct ethnic group? The first question, after evidence of a migration has been established, is to ask why it took place in enough numbers that we find their remains in mounded sites. However, “while it is often difficult to identify specific causes of particular migrations, even with the help of documentary data, it is somewhat easier to identify general structural conditions that favor the occurrence of migrations. Moreover, particular structural conditions favor migrations of particular types”. In other words, we need to understand the natural, cultural, and sociopolitical environments in their homeland and outside in areas of migration at the time that we are studying, and then, if there were significant movements of human groups, goods, or information, we can begin to understand how that changed the adaptations of all of the societies involved.” ref

“The natural environments and presumably, the local conditions of émigré starting points varied. I have come to see roughly seven environmental zones with populations exhibiting the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition: (i) the higher mountain valleys of the South Caucasus, such as Shida Kartli; (ii) the lower broad areas of the South Caucasus comprising the Ararat Plains into Erzurum and the area north of Lake Van; (iii) Iran east and south of Lake Urmia; (iv) the Taurus zone from the western side of Urmia to the eastern part of Elaziğ; (v) the area of Malatya near the Euphrates, including Arslantepe; (vi) Daghestan into the northern Caucasus; and (vii) the Amuq and Khirbet Kerak of the Levant. These zones tend to elicit somewhat different symbolic languages and somewhat different adaptations.” ref

“For example, styles in pottery within the overall Kura-Araxes corpus varied among these zones. Economically, the more northern, higher elevation societies within the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition tended to have a higher percentage of domesticated cattle than sheep compared with societies in the lower elevation environmental zones. Like dialects in language, these variations were based on the degree of interaction of people in each of these zones and their particular local customs and institutions. On a continuum, they are much more similar to the styles of other peoples of the mountains than those of lowland Mesopotamia.” ref

“So, why did they leave as emigrants from their homeland? Following the suggestion by Anthony, what we know of the social and economic organization of these societies is that they were small-scale, were nonurban, and had subsistence economies in the fourth millennium BCE but may have intensified production through irrigation in some places during the third millennium BCE. Areshian posits a population growth in the Ararat Plain at that time. As I have argued, the Kura-Araxes migrations did not take the form of a wave-like what Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza proposed for the spread of agriculture and language into Europe from the Middle East during the Neolithic Period. I see it rather as a series of vectors of movements by small groups, perhaps clans, from place to place.” ref

“Some have tried to match areas within the Kura-Araxes homeland with some variation in local pottery style within the environmental and style zones. As we gain more data, however, this proposed pattern does not seem to work all that well. Rather, a kind of crisscross pattern of groups moving and settling long enough to create mounded sites occurred (these people are not purely nomadic people, although they could be transhumant pastoralists). In northwestern Iran, for example, some small sites are dominated by pottery typical of that in the Shida Kartli highlands in Georgia, and others are dominated by pottery typical of that in the lower mountains of the Ararat Plain of Armenia.” ref

“So why did they move? Demographers speak of a push and a pull in all migrations. There must be some reason to be pushed out of an earlier homeland, but there must also be something that pulls the mobile population in a particular direction. Burney and Lang and Areshian have proposed that there was a sharp rise in population in the homeland in the early third millennium BCE. Primogeniture or other customs favoring one family member, kinship segment, or class over another, for example, may cause the less economically fortunate to emigrate. However, was it enough of a rise in population to exceed the carrying capacity of the homeland? If it was not primarily a push, was it a pull?” ref

“Moch writes of modern migrations that “I argue that the primary determinants of migration patterns consist of fundamental structural elements of economic life: labor-force demands in countryside and city, deployment of capital, population patterns (rates of birth, death, marriage), and landholding regimes. Shifts in those elements underlie changing migration itineraries”. At the same time, Moch admits that configurations of political economy—this factor is what anthropologists would call social organization—underlie all of the different possible itineraries. As Anthony points out, “[m]igration is a social strategy, not an automatic response to crowding”. In this case, environmental conditions were, in fact, propitious in the homeland, and therefore, a forced exit seems less necessary.” ref

“Therefore, it is possible that there was a push, not so much from demographic stress but from changes in social organization and access to resources, especially arable land, and pasture. There are indications of intensification of agricultural production by the construction of irrigation systems to either feed more people or support the wishes of emerging leadership groups. At the same time, little evidence of the kind of authority necessary to control resources and the concomitant social stratification is in evidence. The beginning of mobile populations, marked by kurgans and the contemporaneous building of walls at Shengavit, Mokhra Blur, and Ravaz, is already evident in the early third millennium BCE. Ultimately, in the homeland, the Kura-Araxes adaptation would be displaced by a more mobile and militaristic one associated with the so-called Kurgan Cultures. Is that a significant cause? Also, as the more mobile, militaristic organization of the homeland evolved after the end of the Kura-Araxes adaptation, the black burnished pottery continued, indicating some continuity of the cultural tradition.” ref

“The evidence, although still slim, suggests that emigration was catalyzed more by a pull than a push. If so, the likelihood is that some economic opportunities presented themselves in the diaspora. Three productive activities are possible: animal meat or by-products (wool), metals and metallurgical skills, or viticulture. To trace these possible pulls, I will take a more detailed look at a few of the migration sites. The first is Godin Tepe in the Kangavar Valley of the central-western Zagros. Kura-Araxes migrants had entered the Zagros Mountains in the fourth millennium BCE. Archaeologists at Gijlar Tepe west of Lake Urmia uncovered 10 m of occupation with Kura-Araxes artifacts. Considerable time depth is also evident at Yanik Tepe on the eastern side of Lake Urmia and Sangalan Tepe in Hamadan (the last destroyed by modern villagers in the 1970s). The story of the Kura-Araxes people at Godin began in the late fourth millennium, when contact between the Mesopotamian lowland and the western Zagros along the High Road (later called the Silk Road) was established. Excavators recovered a few clearly Kura-Araxes potsherds in the oval-walled compound of late fourth millennium BCE Godin VI:1.” ref

“What would have pulled these Kura-Araxes people, who never went south of Kangavar or west into the Mahi Dasht, to Godin? The traditional answer has been metallurgy. Sagona suggests that metallurgical work may not have been extensive enough to produce a regular flow of export products. However, there is a significant smelting installation in the third millennium BCE occupation of Godin IV:1a. There are, however, two alternatives. One is wine. Areshian et al. have shown that the full process of winemaking was already known and practiced in Armenia in the fifth millennium BCE. The first clear evidence of wine at Godin Tepe occurred in VI:1, just when the few Kura-Araxes potsherds appeared.” ref

“Another less visible product is wool. Woolen cloth was supposed to be one of the major exports of Mesopotamia societies in the Uruk expansion. However, Anthony points out that highland sheep had thick wool with long strands best for making yarn as opposed to the lowland sheep. After the end of VI:1 and a hiatus of about a century around 2900 BCE, significant numbers of Kura-Araxes migrants reappear at Godin Tepe. Now, rather than a small minority, they dominate Godin and the other medium-sized site in Kangavar, although the overall population of the valley remained the same as during VI:1. Sheep and goats in Godin IV tended to be killed at 4–6 y of age, old for their use as primarily meat sources but right for wool or milk production. The distribution of the Zagros variant of Kura-Araxes–styled pottery follows an old, inner-Zagros Mountain route that swings to the east south of the Caspian Sea. Exactly what was passed along that route we do not know, although lapis lazuli in the late fourth and early third millennia BCE followed a route to Susa.” ref

“For a period from 2900 to 2700 BCE, Kura-Araxes people seem to dominate the Kangavar Valley. No evidence exists of a mass departure of the local population, and some sites seem to use the older pottery. Others seem to adopt Kura-Araxes styles. However, by 2600 BCE, although the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition is still active in homeland South Caucasus, a transition occurred. Now, only 10% of the pottery was black ware, and it was undecorated. The architectural form and hypothetically, the family structure changed. As the Awan highland empire took over the Kangavar Valley, all vestiges of the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition disappeared. They had created a unique variant of the Kura-Araxes ethnicity in the Zagros ecological zone and then, could be conquered and assimilated by organized forces that were part of the ethnic mix all along.” ref

“To the west, the situation is quite different. The pattern is of small numbers of Kura-Araxes pottery and also, some ritual items, like ceramic decorated hearths at larger sites, like Korucutepe and Norşuntepe. This area between the Taurus massifs along the Murat River in Elaziğ Province consisted, however, of small clusters of largely decentralized communities. The key might be one of seeking new lands for pasture, or it might be related to Arslantepe. Arslantepe was a primate center during the fourth millennium BCE with a large temple/palace center. Its location at the nexus of routes from the northeast, east, west, and south made it a natural center for trade with Mesopotamia, just as Godin was but on a much smaller scale. The site was also near the largest copper mine south and west of the Caucasus, Zagros, and high Taurus at Ergani Maden. Frangipane and Palumbi see the fourth millennium BCE black burnished wares at Arslantepe VIA as typical of central Anatolia, but after the collapse of the temple/palace organization, a combined population of people using a distinct variant of Kura-Araxes wares and local Plain Simple Wares occupied the site. Houses in the third millennium B.C. town had either black burnished or local buff wares, and some leader’s house was part of a larger feasting center, like the one at Godin.” ref

“The immigrants, once a small percentage of the population in the fourth millennium BCE, had become a more significant, although still an ethnically identifiable group, in the third millennium. The third millennium BCE also saw a marked increase in population around the site of Arslantepe, although many of these new sites seem to be short-term occupations on rocky outcrops. Perhaps these places are temporary sites for pastoralists, whom Frangipane and Siracusano see as the Kura-Araxes migrants. An increase in the percentages of mobile sheep and goats at this time reinforces this theory. At the same time, a “royal” tomb over the remains of the abandoned temple/palace complex suggests closer cultural ties with the Kura-Araxes homeland and the Maikop cultures north of the Caucasus Mountains, especially in terms of metallurgy. We tend to want each ethnic or cultural group to be homogeneous, but because I believe that the zones of Kura-Araxes occupation are environmentally distinct, there is no reason to assume that they all shared the same economic adaptation in the diaspora. Some may have been primarily pastoralists; others may have been farmers and herders, who were more likely to settle for a longer time. Either group could have served as transmitters of goods and technologies.” ref

“A pull, again, for opportunities (perhaps metals and metallurgy, the byproducts of sheep and goat, or viniculture and winemaking) drew Kura-Araxes migrant clans over a few hundred years into the Elaziğ and Malatya areas. There is little indication that the interactions were at all violent. Ethnic communities over time integrated into these populations while keeping their identity. As in the Zagros, over time, these populations began to assimilate into the local populations. At Norşuntepe, the symbolic designs continued but appeared as painted designs on buff wares rather than incised or raised designs on handmade black burnished wares. By the end or past the end of when the Kura-Araxes adaptation described the lives of people in the South Caucasus, the people at Norşuntepe built a Mesopotamian-style public building (“Palas”), and signs of the Kura-Araxes ethnic identity all but disappeared. Those same symbols of pottery style, despite the radical change in the lifeway of people in the South Caucasus, continued in the homeland.” ref


“This paper looked at the creation through migration of ancient populations related to the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition. The creation of distinct ethnic groups outside the homeland seems to have been based on a pull of population into areas where there were new opportunities to market skills in viniculture, metallurgy, and wool production. The migrants formed an identifiable ethnic group within local populations, as Barth (2) suggests, sharing values, identity, and communication networks while slowly integrating and ultimately, assimilating into local cultures. Only in the homeland, where a density of homogeneous cultural practices existed, did these same cultural traditions continue. This pattern was so, despite a major change in their lives from relatively peaceful, largely settled agropastoral and locally directed craft production practices to a mobile and military lifestyle. In many ways, this same pattern is evident historically, such as in the United States, where people of distinct and strong ethnic identities migrated for opportunity and to fill needed productive and labor roles. Over the less than two centuries since the high point of US immigration, a similar process of assimilation and slowly losing the elements of ethnic identity or incorporating them (like pizza, Chinese food, or participation in St. Patrick Day parades) into a new common, nonethnic social order continues to occur.” ref


The Hittites (/ˈhɪtaɪts/) were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 BCE. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Šuppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.” ref

“Between the 15th and 13th centuries BC, the Empire of Hattusa, conventionally called the Hittite Empire, came into conflict with the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Middle Assyrian Empire, and the empire of the Mitanni for control of the Near East. The Middle Assyrian Empire eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite Empire, while the remainder was sacked by Phrygian newcomers to the region. After c. 1180 BC, during the Late Bronze Age collapse, the Hittites splintered into several independent Syro-Hittite states, some of which survived until the eighth century BC before succumbing to the Neo-Assyrian Empire.” ref

“The Hittite language was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, and along with the closely related Luwian language, is the oldest historically attested Indo-European language, referred to by its speakers as nešili “in the language of Nesa“. The Hittites called their country the Kingdom of Hattusa (Hatti in Akkadian), a name received from the Hattians, an earlier people who inhabited the region until the beginning of the second millennium BC and spoke an unrelated language known as Hattic. The conventional name “Hittites” is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th-century archaeology.” ref

“The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their kingdom, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, and the Middle East, the decipherment of which was also a key event in the history of Indo-European studies.” ref

“The development of iron smelting was once attributed to the Hittites of Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age, with their success largely based on the advantages of a monopoly on ironworking at the time. But the view of such a “Hittite monopoly” has come under scrutiny and is no longer a scholarly consensus. As part of the Late-Bronze-Age/Early-Iron-Age, the Late Bronze Age collapse saw the slow, comparatively continuous spread of iron-working technology in the region. While there are some iron objects from Bronze Age Anatolia, the number is comparable to iron objects found in Egypt and other places during the period; and only a small number of these objects are weapons. Hittites did not use smelted iron, but rather meteorites. The Hittite military made successful use of chariots.” ref

“In classical times, ethnic Hittite dynasties survived in small kingdoms scattered around what is now Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. Lacking a unifying continuity, their descendants scattered and ultimately merged into the modern populations of the Levant, Turkey, and Mesopotamia. During the 1920s, interest in the Hittites increased with the founding of Turkey and attracted the attention of Turkish archaeologists such as Halet Çambel and Tahsin Özgüç. During this period, the new field of Hittitology also influenced the naming of Turkish institutions, such as the state-owned Etibank (“Hittite bank”), and the foundation of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, 200 kilometers west of the Hittite capital and housing the most comprehensive exhibition of Hittite art and artifacts in the world.” ref

Biblical background

See also: Biblical Hittites

“Before the archeological discoveries that revealed the Hittite civilization, the only source of information about the Hittites had been the Old Testament. Francis William Newman expressed the critical view, common in the early 19th century, that, “no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah…”.” ref

“As the discoveries in the second half of the 19th century revealed the scale of the Hittite kingdom, Archibald Sayce asserted that, rather than being compared to Judah, the Anatolian civilization “[was] worthy of comparison to the divided Kingdom of Egypt”, and was “infinitely more powerful than that of Judah”. Sayce and other scholars also noted that Judah and the Hittites were never enemies in the Hebrew texts; in the Book of Kings, they supplied the Israelites with cedar, chariots, and horses, and in the Book of Genesis were friends and allies to Abraham. Uriah the Hittite was a captain in King David‘s army and counted as one of his “mighty men” in 1 Chronicles 11.” ref

Initial discoveries

“French scholar Charles Texier found the first Hittite ruins in 1834 but did not identify them as such. The first archaeological evidence for the Hittites appeared in tablets found at the karum of Kanesh (now called Kültepe), containing records of trade between Assyrian merchants and a certain “land of Hatti“. Some names in the tablets were neither Hattic nor Assyrian, but clearly Indo-European.” ref

“The script on a monument at Boğazkale by a “People of Hattusas” discovered by William Wright in 1884 was found to match peculiar hieroglyphic scripts from Aleppo and Hama in Northern Syria. In 1887, excavations at Amarna in Egypt uncovered the diplomatic correspondence of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his son, Akhenaten. Two of the letters from a “kingdom of Kheta“—apparently located in the same general region as the Mesopotamian references to “land of Hatti“—were written in standard Akkadian cuneiform, but in an unknown language; although scholars could interpret its sounds, no one could understand it.” ref

“Shortly after this, Sayce proposed that Hatti or Khatti in Anatolia was identical with the “kingdom of Kheta” mentioned in these Egyptian texts, as well as with the biblical Hittites. Others, such as Max Müller, agreed that Khatti was probably Kheta, but proposed connecting it with Biblical Kittim rather than with the Biblical Hittites. Sayce’s identification came to be widely accepted over the course of the early 20th century; and the name “Hittite” has become attached to the civilization uncovered at Boğazköy.” ref

“During sporadic excavations at Boğazköy (Hattusa) that began in 1906, the archaeologist Hugo Winckler found a royal archive with 10,000 tablets, inscribed in cuneiform Akkadian and the same unknown language as the Egyptian letters from Kheta—thus confirming the identity of the two names. He also proved that the ruins at Boğazköy were the remains of the capital of an empire that, at one point, controlled northern Syria.” ref

“Under the direction of the German Archaeological Institute, excavations at Hattusa have been under way since 1907, with interruptions during the world wars. Kültepe was successfully excavated by Professor Tahsin Özgüç from 1948 until his death in 2005. Smaller-scale excavations have also been carried out in the immediate surroundings of Hattusa, including the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya, which contains numerous rock reliefs portraying the Hittite rulers and the gods of the Hittite pantheon.” ref


“The Hittites used a variation of cuneiform called Hittite cuneiform. Archaeological expeditions to Hattusa have discovered entire sets of royal archives on cuneiform tablets, written either in Akkadian, the diplomatic language of the time, or in the various dialects of the Hittite confederation. The Hittite kingdom was centered on the lands surrounding Hattusa and Neša (Kültepe), known as “the land Hatti” (URUHa-at-ti). After Hattusa was made capital, the area encompassed by the bend of the Kızılırmak River (Hittite Marassantiya) was considered the core of the Empire, and some Hittite laws make a distinction between “this side of the river” and “that side of the river”. For example, the reward for the capture of an escaped slave after he managed to flee beyond the Halys is higher than that for a slave caught before he could reach the river.” ref

“To the west and south of the core territory lay the region known as Luwiya in the earliest Hittite texts. This terminology was replaced by the names Arzawa and Kizzuwatna with the rise of those kingdoms. Nevertheless, the Hittites continued to refer to the language that originated in these areas as Luwian. Prior to the rise of Kizzuwatna, the heart of that territory in Cilicia was first referred to by the Hittites as Adaniya. Upon its revolt from the Hittites during the reign of Ammuna, it assumed the name of Kizzuwatna and successfully expanded northward to encompass the lower Anti-Taurus Mountains as well. To the north, lived the mountainous people called the Kaskians. To the southeast of the Hittites lay the Hurrian empire of Mitanni. At its peak, during the reign of Muršili II, the Hittite empire stretched from Arzawa in the west to Mitanni in the east, many of the Kaskian territories to the north including Hayasa-Azzi in the far north-east, and on south into Canaan approximately as far as the southern border of Lebanon, incorporating all of these territories within its domain.” ref


“It is generally assumed that the Hittites came into Anatolia sometime before 2000 BCE. While their earlier location is disputed, it has been speculated by scholars for more than a century that the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe, in present-day Ukraine, around the Sea of Azov, spoke an early Indo-European language during the third and fourth millennia BCE. The arrival of the Hittites in Anatolia in the Bronze Age was one of a superstrate imposing itself on a native culture (in this case over the pre-existing Hattians and Hurrians), either by means of conquest or by gradual assimilation. In archaeological terms, relationships of the Hittites to the Ezero culture of the Balkans and Maykop culture of the Caucasus have been considered within the migration framework. The Indo-European element at least establishes Hittite culture as intrusive to Anatolia in scholarly mainstream (excepting the opinions of Colin Renfrew, whose Anatolian hypothesis assumes that Indo-European is indigenous to Anatolia, and, more recently, Quentin Atkinson).” ref

“According to Anthony, 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. Their languages “probably included archaic Proto-Indo-European dialects of the kind partly preserved later in Anatolian.” Their descendants later moved into Anatolia at an unknown time but maybe as early as 3000 BCE. According to J. P. Mallory it is likely that the Anatolians reached the Near East from the north either via the Balkans or the Caucasus in the 3rd millennium BCE. According to Parpola, the appearance of Indo-European speakers from Europe into Anatolia, and the appearance of Hittite, is related to later migrations of Proto-Indo-European speakers from the Yamnaya culture into the Danube Valley at c. 2800 BCE, which is in line with the “customary” assumption that the Anatolian Indo-European language was introduced into Anatolia sometime in the third millennium BCE.” ref

“Their movement into the region may have set off a Near East mass migration sometime around 1900 BCE. The dominant indigenous inhabitants in central Anatolia at the time were Hurrians and Hattians who spoke non-Indo-European languages. Some have argued that Hattic was a Northwest Caucasian language, but its affiliation remains uncertain, whilst the Hurrian language was a near-isolate (i.e. it was one of only two or three languages in the Hurro-Urartian family). There were also Assyrian colonies in the region during the Old Assyrian Empire (2025–1750 BCE); it was from the Assyrian speakers of Upper Mesopotamia that the Hittites adopted the cuneiform script. It took some time before the Hittites established themselves following the collapse of the Old Assyrian Empire in the mid-18th century BCE, as is clear from some of the texts included here. For several centuries there were separate Hittite groups, usually centered on various cities. But then strong rulers with their center in Hattusa (modern Boğazkale) succeeded in bringing these together and conquering large parts of central Anatolia to establish the Hittite kingdom.” ref

Flood Accounts: Gilgamesh epic (4,100 years ago) Noah in Genesis (2,600 years ago)

Gilgamesh epic (4,100 years ago)

Gilgamesh’s supposed historical reign is believed to have been approximately 2700 BCE, shortly before the earliest known written stories. The discovery of artifacts associated with Aga and Enmebaragesi of Kish, two other kings named in the stories, has lent credibility to the historical existence of Gilgamesh. The earliest Sumerian Gilgamesh poems date from as early as the Third dynasty of Ur (4,100–4,000 years ago). One of these poems mentions Gilgamesh’s journey to meet the flood hero, as well as a short version of the flood story. The earliest Akkadian versions of the unified epic are dated to ca. 4,000–3,500 years ago. Due to the fragmentary nature of these Old Babylonian versions, it is unclear whether they included an expanded account of the flood myth; although one fragment definitely includes the story of Gilgamesh’s journey to meet Utnapishtim. The “standard” Akkadian version included a long version of the story and was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 3,300-3,000 years ago.” ref

Noah in Genesis (2,600 years ago)

“Tradition credits Moses as the author of Genesis, as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy, but modern scholars increasingly see them as a product of the 6th and 5th centuries BC thus at most 2,600 years ago.” ref

Dating the BIBLE: naming names and telling times (written less than 3,000 years ago, provable to 2,200 years ago)

Flood Accounts

To compare the flood story from the Gilgamesh epic with the flood story of Noah in Genesis, one must understand the historical aspects at play to decipher all the similarities. Is the flood narrative of Genesis just a rewritten version of an original myth, The Epic of Gilgamesh, produced by the Sumerians? I think so.

To understand this similarity deeper one must look forward to who carried the Noah story to the Jewish people. In addition, to understand how it came from a similar source that was later transcribed in to the book of Genesis by Moses. “Historically, Jews and Christians alike have held that Moses was the author/compiler of the first five books of the OT. These books, known also as the Pentateuch (“five-volumed book”), were referred to in Jewish tradition as the five fifths of the law (of Moses). The Bible itself suggests Mosaic authorship of Genesis. (Barker, 2002 p. 2 New International Version, Study Bible Concordance).

The Jewish people trace their lineage to father Abraham, and the writings and oral translations that accompanied him. Abraham was a Sumerian from Mesopotamia and the Gilgamesh epic is a Sumerian story which is from Mesopotamia too. “Many stories and myths were written about Gilgamesh, some of which were written down about 2000 B.C. in the Sumerian language on clay tablets which still survive; the Sumerian language, as far as we know, bears no relation to any other human language we know about.” ref

“Abraham is told to leave his country and his people with ties to Sumeria region of Mesopotamia, so God could make him into a new nation, the eventual Israelites. His famaly are said to live in Haran, which is almost universally identified with Harran, a city whose ruins lie within present-day Turkey. Haran first appears in the Book of Genesis as the home of Terah father of Abraham, and as Abraham‘s temporary home. Most of what is told about Terah is recorded in Genesis 11:26–28. Terah’s father was Nahor, son of Serug, descendants of Shem. They and many of their ancestors were polytheistic. Terah had three sons: Abram (better known by his later name Abraham).” ref, ref

“The archaeological remains of ancient Harran, a major commercial, cultural, and religious center first inhabited in the Early Bronze Age III (3rd millennium BCE/5,000-4,000 years ago) period. The earliest records of Harran come from Ebla tablets (late 3rd millennium BCE). By the 4,000 years ago, Harran was established as a merchant outpost of the Assyrian Empire due to its ideal location. In its prime Harran was a major Assyrian city which controlled the point where the road from Damascus joins the highway between Nineveh and Carchemish. This location gave Harran strategic value from an early date because it had an abundance of goods that passed through its region. In the 18th century, Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I (3,813–3,781 years ago) launched an expedition to secure the Harranian trade route. In the 3,300 years ago, Assyrian king Adad-Nirari I reported that he conquered the “fortress of Kharani” and annexed it as a province. It is frequently mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as early as the time of Tiglath-Pileser I, about 3,100 years ago, under the name Harranu (Akkadian harrānu, “road, path; campaign, journey”). Tiglath-Pileser had a fortress there, and mentioned that he was pleased with the abundance of elephants in the region.” ref

“3,100 years ago inscriptions reveal that Harran had some privileges of fiscal exemption and freedom from certain forms of military obligations. It had even been termed as the “free city of Harran”. However, 2,763 years ago, it was sacked by a Harranian rebellion against Assyrian control that resulted in the loss of those privileges. Not until Sargon II restored order, in the late 8th century BCE, were those privileges restored. During the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Harran became the stronghold of its last king, Ashur-uballit II, who had retreated from Nineveh when it was sacked by Nabopolassar of Babylon and his Median allies in 2,612 years ago. Harran was besieged and conquered by Nabopolassar and Cyaxares in 2,610 years ago. It was briefly retaken by Ashur-uballit II and his Egyptian allies in 2,609 years ago, before it finally fell to the Medes and Babylonians in 2,605 years ago. The last king of the Neo-Babylonian period, Nabonidus, also originated from Harran as substantiated by evidence from the temple of stele of his mother Adad-Guppi, who is of Assyrian origin. The city became a bastion for the worship of the moon god Sinduring the rule of Nabonidus in 2,556–2,539 years ago, much to the consternation of the city of Babylon in the south, where Marduk remained the primary deity.” ref

“The lord had said to Abram, leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you” (Genesis 12: 1 & 2 New International Version, Study Bible). There is further evidence of a connection of the origin of Abraham and thus flood story. “Abram’s family was involved in the political and religious life of Sumeria, a high class family of noble birth who lived and mingled with the high echelons of Sumerian society.”ref

Other similarities in the flood myths are as follows:

“Both Flood stories originate and occur in the Mesopotamian plain and were recounted by people of Sumerian origins. “the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia repeatedly experienced severe floods, some of which destroyed early centers of civilization” (Harris, 2007 p. 52).

Both main characters Utnapishtim and Noah are warned by a god to build a boat to escape the flood. Utnapishtim was warned by “Ea (Enki, Nudimmud)- god of the waters” (Crystal, 2007).  He was told the gods would make a flood. “Decided that the great gods should make a flood” (Harris, 2007 p. 52). Utnapishtim was told to build a boat. “Dismantle your house, build a boat” (Harris, 2007 p. 52).

Noah was warned by Yahweh (God of the bible). “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens” (Genesis 6: 17 New International Version, Study Bible). Noah was told to build a boat. “So make an ark” (Genesis 6: 14 New International Version, Study Bible).

Both Utnapishtim and Noah were told to save their families and all living creatures. Utnapishtim was told “put on board the boat all kith and kin” (Harris, 2007 p. 52). Likewise, he was told to “Put aboard the seed of all living things” (Harris, 2007 p. 52). Noah was told “you will enter the ark— you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you” (Genesis 6: 18 New International Version, Study Bible). Likewise was told to “Bring into the ark two of all living creatures” (Genesis 6: 19 New International Version, Study Bible).

Both Utnapishtim and Noah’s boats came to rest on a mountain. Utnapishtim’s “boat had come to rest on Mount Nimush” (Harris, 2007 p. 53).  Noah’s “ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8: 4 New International Version, Study Bible).

Both Utnapishtim and Noah released birds to determine if the waters receded and to gain a sign that the great flood was over. Utnapishtim “put out and released a dove, a swallow, and a raven” (Harris, 2007 p. 53). Noah released a raven then a dove “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly I plucked olive leaf” (Genesis 8: 11 New International Version, Study Bible).

Both Utnapishtim and Noah offered a sacrifice after the flood ends. Utnapishtim offers a sacrifice “I put (everything) out to the four winds, and I made a sacrifice” (Harris, 2007 p. 53). Noah offers a sacrifice “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it” (Genesis 8: 20 New International Version, Study Bible).

Both Utnapishtim and Noah are given a reminder of the flood. Utnapishtim reminder is “Behold, O gods, I shall never forget (the significance of) my lapis lazuli necklace. I shall remember these times, and I shall never forget. As in Genesis, the rainbow (Ishtar’s jeweled necklace) serves to remind the gods of the consequences of their destructive impulses” (Harris, 2007 p. 53). For Noah the reminder is a rainbow “I have set my rainbows in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9: 13 New International Version, Study Bible).

Genesis Flood Myth Origins?

To me, the Bible (“flood” knock off version), was plagiarize and not seen as true by its first writers but was cultural and they hoped it would be believed by others later. They knew the stories of the flood accounts in the Gilgamesh epic believed them false and told them as if their own to act as if it was their true myth. Flood Accounts: Gilgamesh epic (4,100 years ago) Noah in Genesis (2,600 years ago).

“For much of the 20th century most scholars agreed that the five books of the Pentateuch—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—came from four sources, the Yahwist, the Elohist, the Deuteronomist and the Priestly source, each telling the same basic story, and joined together by various editors. Since the 1970s there has been a revolution leading scholars to view the Elohist source as no more than a variation on the Yahwist, and the Priestly source as a body of revisions and expansions to the Yahwist (or “non-Priestly”) material. (The Deuteronomistic source does not appear in Genesis.)” ref

“Scholars use examples of repeated and duplicate stories to identify the separate sources. In Genesis these include three different accounts of a Patriarch claiming that his wife was his sister, the two creation stories, and the two versions of Abraham sending Hagar and Ishmael into the desert. This leaves the question of when these works were created. Scholars in the first half of the 20th century came to the conclusion that the Yahwist is a product of the monarchic period, specifically at the court of Solomon, 10th century BC, and the Priestly work in the middle of the 5th century BC (with claims that the author is Ezra), but more recent thinking is that the Yahwist is from either just before or during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC, and the Priestly final edition was made late in the Exile period or soon after.” ref

“As for why the book was created, a theory which has gained considerable interest, although still controversial is “Persian imperial authorisation”. This proposes that the Persians of the Achaemenid Empire, after their conquest of Babylon 2,539 years ago, agreed to grant Jerusalem a large measure of local autonomy within the empire, but required the local authorities to produce a single law code accepted by the entire community. The two powerful groups making up the community—the priestly families who controlled the Temple and who traced their origin to Moses and the wilderness wanderings, and the major landowning families who made up the “elders” and who traced their own origins to Abraham, who had “given” them the land—were in conflict over many issues, and each had its own “history of origins”, but the Persian promise of greatly increased local autonomy for all provided a powerful incentive to cooperate in producing a single text.” ref

“The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylonia. After the Battle of Carchemish in 2,605 years ago, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem, resulting in tribute being paid by King Jehoiakim.” ref

“After the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great 2,539 years ago, exiled Judeans were permitted to return to Judah. According to the biblical book of Ezra, construction of the second temple in Jerusalem began around 2,537 years ago. All these events are considered significant in Jewish history and culture, and had a far-reaching impact on the development of Judaism.” ref

Archaeological studies have revealed that not all of the population of Judah was deported, and that, although Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, other parts of Judah continued to be inhabited during the period of the exile. The return of the exiles was a gradual process rather than a single event, and many of the deportees or their descendants did not return, becoming the ancestors of the Iraqi Jews.” ref

Biblical accounts of the exile

“In the late 7th century BCE, the Kingdom of Judah was a client state of the Assyrian empire. In the last decades of the century, Assyria was overthrown by Babylon, an Assyrian province. Egypt, fearing the sudden rise of the Neo-Babylonian empire, seized control of Assyrian territory up to the Euphrates river in Syria, but Babylon counter-attacked. In the process Josiah, the king of Judah, was killed in a battle with the Egyptians at the Battle of Megiddo (609 BCE/2,609 years ago).” ref

“After the defeat of Pharaoh Necho’s army by the Babylonians at Carchemish  2,605 years ago, Jehoiakim began paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. Some of the young nobility of Judah were taken to Babylon. In the following years, the court of Jerusalem was divided into two parties, in support of Egypt and Babylon. After Nebuchadnezzar was defeated in battle 2,601 years ago by Egypt, Judah revolted against Babylon, culminating in a three-month siege of Jerusalem beginning in 2,598 years ago. Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, died during the siege and was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah) at the age of eighteen. The city fell on 2 Adar (March 16) 2,597 years ago, and Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Jerusalem and its Temple and took Jeconiah, his court, and other prominent citizens (including the prophet Ezekiel) back to Babylon. Jehoiakim’s uncle Zedekiah was appointed king in his place, but the exiles in Babylon continued to consider Jeconiah as their Exilarch, or rightful ruler.” ref

Despite warnings by Jeremiah and others of the pro-Babylonian party, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra. Nebuchadnezzar returned, defeated the Egyptians, and again besieged Jerusalem, resulting in the city’s destruction 2,587 years ago. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city wall and the Temple, together with the houses of the most important citizens. Zedekiah and his sons were captured, the sons were executed in front of Zedekiah, who was then blinded and taken to Babylon with many others (Jer 52:10–11). Judah became a Babylonian province, called Yehud, putting an end to the independent Kingdom of Judah. (Because of the missing years in the Jewish calendar, rabbinic sources place the date of the destruction of the First Temple at 3338 HC (2,423 years ago)or 3358 HC (2,403 years ago).” ref

“Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem, his capture of King Jeconiah, his appointment of Zedekiah in his place, and the plundering of the city in 2,597 years ago are corroborated by a passage in the Babylonian Chronicles: 293

In the seventh year, in the month of Kislev, the king of Akkad mustered his troops, marched to the Hatti-land, and encamped against the City of Judah and on the ninth day of the month of Adar he seized the city and captured the king. He appointed there a king of his own choice and taking heavy tribute brought it back to Babylon.” ref

“The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in central Turkey.” ref

List of Flood Myths

Flood myths are common across a wide range of cultures, extending back into Bronze Age and Neolithic prehistory. These accounts depict a flood, sometimes global in scale, usually sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution.” ref

Everyone Killed in the Bible Flood? “Nephilim” (giants)?

Was Noah’s Ark found on Mount Ararat as claimed by Ron Wyatt? No, of course not.

Did a 4,500–4,400-year-old Volcano In Turkey Inspire the bible god?

References without links:

Barker, K. L. (Ed.). (2002). New international version, study bible. Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan.

Harris, S. L. (2007). Understanding the bible (7th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Video: The Epic of Gilgamesh: Crash Course World Mythology #26


Harran, ancient Carrhae, was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is in the modern village of Harran, Turkey, 44 kilometers southeast of Şanlıurfa. The location is in the Harran district of Şanlıurfa Province. The archaeological remains are in the ancient Harran, a major commercial, cultural, science, and religious center first inhabited in the Chalcolitic Age (6th millennium BCE). The city was called Hellenopolis (Ancient Greek: Ἑλληνόπολις meaning “Greek city”) in the Early Christian period. It is mentioned, in Movses Khorenatsi‘s and Mikayel Chamchian‘s History of Armenia, as being under the authority of prince Sanadroug, the sovereignty of which he assigned to Queen Helena of Adiabene.” ref


“The settlement that would become Harran began as a typical Halaf culture village established circa 6200 BCE as part of the spread of agricultural villages across West Asia. From its location at the confluence of the Jullab and Balikh rivers it gradually grew in size until a period of rapid urbanization in the following the Uruk period. During the Early Bronze Age (3000-2500 BCE) Harran grew into a walled city. The city-state of Harran was part of a network of city states, called Kish civilization, centered in the Syrian Levant and upper mesopotamia. The rise of Harran closely mirrored the similar rise of its trade partners, Ebla, Ugarit, and Alalakh, in a process called secondary urbanization. Its life as a sovereign city-state came to an end when it was annexed into the Akkadian Empire and its successor the Neo-Sumerian Empire. After the fall of Ur it was again independent for a time until it was abandoned in the Amorite expansion in 1800 BCE. It was later rebuilt as an Assyrian city of Harrānu, meaning ‘cross-roads’ in the Akkadian language.” ref

Bronze Age

“The earliest records of Harran come from Ebla tablets (late 3rd millennium BCE). From these, it is known that an early king or mayor of Harran had married an Eblaite princess, Zugalum, who then became “queen of Harran”, and whose name appears in a number of documents. It appears that Harran remained a part of the regional Eblaite kingdom for some time thereafter. Royal letters from the city of Mari on the middle of the Euphrates, have confirmed that the area around the Balikh river remained occupied in c. the 19th century BCE. A confederation of semi-nomadic tribes was especially active around the region near Harran at that time.” ref

“A temple of the moon god Sin was established sometime at the end of the Neo-Sumerian Empire (circa 2000 BCE). This temple was called the House of Rejoicing (Sumerian: E-hul-hul, Cuneiform:???????????? E2.HUL2.HUL2). The ruins of this temple are currently located under the palace of Caliph Merwan II (744-750 CE). Although the exact date of establishment is uncertain, it may have begun as a satellite to the primary moon temple of Nanna in Ur, and then absorbed a refugee priesthood fleeing Ur during warfare in the Isin-Larsa period. Attestation of the temple existence first appears at the time of Hammurapi, because he is recorded as signing a treaty there. In fact, Sin of Harran was the guarantor of the word of kings between 1900-900 BCE, as his name is witness to the forging of international treaties.” ref

Old Assyrian Period

“By the 20th century BCE, Harran was established as a merchant outpost of the Assyrian Empire due to its ideal location. The community, well established before then, was situated along a trade route between the Mediterranean and the plains of the middle Tigris. It lay directly on the road from Antioch eastward to Nisibis and Nineveh. The Tigris could be followed down to the delta to Babylon. The 4th-century Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330–after 391) said, “From there (Harran) two different royal highways lead to Persia: the one on the left through Neo-Assyrian Adiabene and over the Tigris; the one on the right, through Assyria and across the Euphrates.” Not only did Harran have easy access to both the Assyrian and Babylonian roads, but also to north road to the Euphrates that provided easy access to Malatiyah and Asia Minor/Turkey.” ref

“According to Roman authors such as Pliny the Elder, even through the classical period, Harran maintained an important position in the economic life of Assyria. In its prime, Harran was a major Assyrian city that controlled the point where the road from Damascus joins the highway between Nineveh and Carchemish. This location gave Harran strategic value from an early date. Because Harran had an abundance of goods that passed through its region, it became a target for raids. In the 18th century, Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I (1813–1781 BCE) launched an expedition to secure the Harranian trade route.” ref

Hittite period

“After the Suppiluliuma IShattiwaza treaty (14th century BCE) between the Hittite Empire and Mitanni, Harran was burned by a Hittite army under Piyashshili in the course of the conquest of Mitanni.” ref

Middle and Neo-Assyrian periods

“In 1300 BCE, Assyrian king Adad-Nirari I reported that he conquered the “fortress of Kharani” and annexed it as a province. It is frequently mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as early as the time of Tiglath-Pileser I, about 1100 BCE, under the name Harranu (Akkadian harrānu, “road, path; campaign, journey”). Tiglath-Pileser had a fortress there, and mentioned that he was pleased with the abundance of elephants in the region.” ref

“1000 BCE inscriptions reveal that Harran had some privileges of fiscal exemption and freedom from certain forms of military obligations. It had even been termed as the “free city of Harran”. However, in 763 BCE, it was sacked by a Harranian rebellion against Assyrian control that resulted in the loss of those privileges. Not until Sargon II restored order, around 750 BCE, were those privileges restored. In the Neo-Assyrian period, Shalmanester of Assyria restored the temple in 900 BCE, and it was restored again by Ashurbanipal. circa 550 BC.” ref

Neo-Babylonian period

“During the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Harran became the stronghold of its last king, Ashur-uballit II, who had retreated from Nineveh when it was sacked by Nabopolassar of Babylon and his Median allies in 612 BCE. Harran was besieged and conquered by Nabopolassar and Cyaxares in 610 BCE. It was briefly retaken by Ashur-uballit II and his Egyptian allies in 609 BCE, before it finally fell to the Medes and Babylonians in 605 BCE. The last king of the Neo-Babylonian period, Nabonidus, also originated from Harran as substantiated by evidence from the temple of stele of his mother Adad-Guppi, who is of Assyrian origin. Nabonidus made a substantial expansion to the Temple of Sin, and it is from this phase of the temple’s operation that it became a famous center of astronomy and knowledge in classical antiquity. The city became a bastion for the worship of the moon god Sin during the rule of Nabonidus in 556–539 BCE, much to the consternation of the city of Babylon in the south, where Marduk remained the primary deity.” ref

Persian period

“Harran became part of the Median Empire after the fall of Assyria, and subsequently passed to the Persian Achaemenid dynasty in the 6th century BCE. It became part of the Persian province of Athura, the Persian word for Assyria. The city remained in Persian hands until 331 BCE, when the soldiers of the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great entered the city.” ref

Seleucid period

“After the death of Alexander on June 11, 323 BCE, the city was contested by his successors: Perdiccas, Antigonus Monophthalmus, and Eumenes visited the city, but eventually, it became part of the realm of Seleucus I Nicator, of the Seleucid Empire, and capital of a province called Osrhoene (the Greek rendering of the old name Urhai). For one and a half centuries the town flourished and became independent when the Parthian dynasty of Persia occupied Babylonia. The Parthian and Seleucid kings were both happy with a buffer state, and the dynasty of the Arabian Abgarides, technically a vassal of the Parthian “king of kings“, was to rule Osrhoene for centuries. The main language spoken in Oshroene was Aramaic.” ref

Roman–Sasanian period

“In Roman times, Harran was known as Carrhae, and was the location of the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE, in which the Parthians, commanded by general Surena, defeated a large Roman army under the command of Crassus, who was killed. Centuries later, the emperor Caracalla was murdered here, probably at the instigation of Macrinus (217). In the 3rd century, the region was a frontier province of the Roman empire, being the location for major wars between Rome and Persia. The emperor Galerius was defeated nearby by the Parthians’ successors, the Sassanid dynasty of Persia, in 296 AD.” ref

“The city swapped ownership between the Sassanids and the Romans on multiple occasions from 4th century to 6th century. Persian general Shahrbaraz completed the conquering of Oshroene one last time for the Sassanids around 610. The city came to Roman control after the successful offensive of emperor Heraclius in 620s for a very short time, before being taken over by the new powerhouse, the Rashiduns. In 640 AD, Carrhae was conquered by the Muslim Arab general ‘Iyāḍ b. Ghanm.” ref

Early Islamic Harran

“At the beginning of the Islamic period, Harran was located in the land of the Mudar tribe (Diyar Mudar), the western part of northern Mesopotamia (Jazira). Along with ar-Ruha’ (Şanlıurfa) and Raqqa it was one of the main cities in the region. During the reign of the Umayyad caliph Marwan II, Harran became the seat of the caliphal government of the Islamic empire stretching from Spain to Central Asia.” ref

“It was allegedly the Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mun who, while passing through Harran on his way to a campaign against the Byzantine Empire, forced the Harranians to convert to one of the “religions of the book”, meaning Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. The pagan people of Harran identified themselves with the Sabians in order to fall under the protection of Islam. Aramaean and Assyrian Christians remained Christian. Sabians were mentioned in the Qur’an, but those were the group that later mixed Gnostic ideas with their religion and became Mandaeans (a Gnostic sect). The Harranians may have identified themselves as Sabians in order to retain their religious beliefs.” ref

“During the late 8th and 9th centuries, Harran was a center for translating works of astronomy, philosophy, natural sciences, and medicine from Greek to Syriac by Assyrians, and thence to Arabic, bringing the knowledge of the classical world to the emerging Arabic-speaking civilization in the south. Baghdad came to this work later than Harran. Many important scholars of natural science, astronomy, and medicine originate from Harran.” ref

End of the Sabians

“In 1032 or 1033, the temple of the Sabians was destroyed and the urban community extinguished by an uprising of the rural ‘AlidShiite population and impoverished Muslim militias. In 1059–60, the temple was rebuilt into a fortified residence by the Numayrid prince Mani ibn Shabib. The Numayrids were an Arab tribe that dominated the Diyar Mudar (western Jazira) during the 11th century and had ruled Harran more or less continuously since 990. The Zangid ruler Nur al-Din Mahmud transformed the residence into a strong fortress.” ref


“During the Crusades, on May 7, 1104, a decisive battle was fought in the Balikh River valley, commonly known as the Battle of Harran. However, according to Matthew of Edessa, the actual location of the battle lies two days away from Harran. Albert of Aachen and Fulcher of Chartres locate the battleground in the plain opposite to the city of Raqqa. During the battle, Baldwin of Bourcq, Count of Edessa, was captured by troops of the Great Seljuq Empire. After his release, Baldwin became King of Jerusalem.” ref

“At the end of 12th century, Harran served together with Raqqa as a residence of Kurdish Ayyubid princes. The Ayyubid ruler of the Jazira, Al-Adil I, again strengthened the fortifications of the castle. In the 1260s, the city was completely destroyed and abandoned during the Mongol invasions of Syria. The father of the famous Hanbalite scholar Ibn Taymiyyah was a refugee from Harran, settling in Damascus. The 13th-century Kurdish historian Abu al-Fida describes the city as being in ruins. The early 14th-century traveler Jordanus devotes Chapter 10 of his Mirabilis to “Aran”, which most likely is Harran. The entire chapter reads: “Here Followeth Concerning the Land of Aran. Concerning Aran I say nothing at all, seeing that there is nothing worth noting.” ref

Hebrew language

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel. In 2013, Modern Hebrew was spoken by over nine million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans, and their ancestors; however, the language was not referred to by the name “Hebrew” in the Tanakh itself. Mishnah Gitin 9:8 refers to the language as Ivrit meaning Hebrew, however, Mishnah Megillah refers to the Hebrew language as Ashurit meaning Assyrian, which is a metonym derived from the name of the alphabet in contrast to Ivrit meaning the paleo-Hebrew alphabet. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date to 1000 BCE. Hebrew belongs to the Northwest Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family, and is the only Canaanite language still spoken and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language, and one of only two Northwest Semitic languages still spoken, the other being Aramaic.” ref

“Hebrew ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE, declining in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt. Aramaic and, to a lesser extent, Greek were already in use as international languages, especially among elites and immigrants. Hebrew survived into the medieval period as the language of Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra-Jewish commerce, and poetry. With the rise of Zionism in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language, becoming the main language of the Yishuv and subsequently of the State of Israel. According to Ethnologue, in 1998, Hebrew was the language of five million people worldwide. After Israel, the United States has the second largest Hebrew-speaking population, with about 220,000 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.” ref

Modern Hebrew is the official language of the State of Israel, while premodern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today. The Samaritan dialect is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic is their vernacular. As a foreign language, it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, by archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations, and by theologians in Christian seminaries. Nearly all of the Hebrew Bible is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian captivity. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as Lashon Hakodesh (לשון הקודש), “the holy language” or “the language of holiness”, since ancient times.” ref

The word Hebrew’s Etymology

“The modern English word “Hebrew” is derived from Old French Ebrau, via Latin from the Greek Ἑβραῖος (Hebraîos) and Aramaic ‘ibrāy, all ultimately derived from Biblical Hebrew Ivri (עברי), one of several names for the Israelite (Jewish and Samaritan) people (Hebrews). It is traditionally understood to be an adjective based on the name of Abraham’s ancestor, Eber, mentioned in Genesis 10:21.” ref

“The name is believed to be based on the Semitic root ʕ-b-r (עבר) meaning “beyond”, “other side”, “across”; interpretations of the term “Hebrew” generally render its meaning as roughly “from the other side [of the river/desert]”—i.e., an exonym for the inhabitants of the land of Israel/Judah, perhaps from the perspective of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia or the Transjordan (with the river referenced perhaps the Euphrates, Jordan or Litani; or maybe the northern Arabian Desert between Babylonia and Canaan).” ref

“Compare the word Habiru or cognate Assyrian ebru, of identical meaning. One of the earliest references to the language’s name as “Ivrit” is found in the prologue to the Book of Ben Sira,[a] from the 2nd century BCE. The Hebrew Bible does not use the term “Hebrew” in reference to the language of the Hebrew people;[23] its later historiography, in the Book of Kings, refers to it as ‏יְהוּדִית Yehudit ‘Judahite (language)’.” ref


“Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. Canaanite languages are a branch of the Northwest Semitic family of languages. According to Avraham Ben-Yosef, Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the period from about 1200 to 586 BCE. Scholars debate the degree to which Hebrew was a spoken vernacular in ancient times following the Babylonian exile when the predominant international language in the region was Old Aramaic. Hebrew was extinct as a colloquial language by Late Antiquity, but it continued to be used as a literary language and as the liturgical language of Judaism, evolving various dialects of literary Medieval Hebrew, until its revival as a spoken language in the late 19th century.” ref

Oldest Hebrew inscriptions

Further information: Paleo-Hebrew alphabet and Ancient Hebrew writings

“In July 2008, Israeli archaeologist Yossi Garfinkel discovered a ceramic shard at Khirbet Qeiyafa that he claimed may be the earliest Hebrew writing yet discovered, dating from around 3,000 years ago. Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai Mazar said that the inscription was “proto-Canaanite” but cautioned that “The differentiation between the scripts, and between the languages themselves in that period, remains unclear,” and suggested that calling the text Hebrew might be going too far.” ref

“The Gezer calendar also dates back to 1000 BCE at the beginning of the Monarchic period, the traditional time of the reign of David and Solomon. Classified as Archaic Biblical Hebrew, the calendar presents a list of seasons and related agricultural activities. The Gezer calendar (named after the city in whose proximity it was found) is written in an old Semitic script, akin to the Phoenician one that, through the Greeks and Etruscans, later became the Roman script. The Gezer calendar is written without any vowels, and it does not use consonants to imply vowels even in the places in which later Hebrew spelling requires them.” ref

“Numerous older tablets have been found in the region with similar scripts written in other Semitic languages, for example, Protosinaitic. It is believed that the original shapes of the script go back to Egyptian hieroglyphs, though the phonetic values are instead inspired by the acrophonic principle. The common ancestor of Hebrew and Phoenician is called Canaanite, and was the first to use a Semitic alphabet distinct from that of Egyptian. One ancient document is the famous Moabite Stone, written in the Moabite dialect; the Siloam Inscription, found near Jerusalem, is an early example of Hebrew. Less ancient samples of Archaic Hebrew include the ostraca found near Lachish, which describe events preceding the final capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity of 586 BCE.” ref

Biblical Hebrew

Main article: Biblical Hebrew

“In its widest sense, Biblical Hebrew refers to the spoken language of ancient Israel flourishing between the 1000 BCE and the turn of the 4th century CE. It comprises several evolving and overlapping dialects. The phases of Classical Hebrew are often named after important literary works associated with them.” ref

  • Archaic Biblical Hebrew from the 10th to the 6th century BCE, corresponding to the Monarchic Period until the Babylonian Exile and represented by certain texts in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), notably the Song of Moses (Exodus 15) and the Song of Deborah (Judges 5). Also called Old Hebrew or Paleo-Hebrew. It was written in the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. A script descended from this, the Samaritan alphabet, is still used by the Samaritans.” ref
  • Standard Biblical Hebrew around the 8th to 6th centuries BCE, corresponding to the late Monarchic period and the Babylonian Exile. It is represented by the bulk of the Hebrew Bible that attains much of its present form around this time. Also called Biblical Hebrew, Early Biblical Hebrew, Classical Biblical Hebrew, or Classical Hebrew (in the narrowest sense).” ref
  • Late Biblical Hebrew, from the 5th to the 3rd centuries BCE, corresponding to the Persian period and represented by certain texts in the Hebrew Bible, notably the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Basically similar to Classical Biblical Hebrew, apart from a few foreign words adopted for mainly governmental terms, and some syntactical innovations such as the use of the particle she- (alternative of “asher”, meaning “that, which, who”). It adopted the Imperial Aramaic script (from which the modern Hebrew script descends).” ref
  • Israelian Hebrew is a proposed northern dialect of biblical Hebrew, believed to have existed in all eras of the language, in some cases competing with late biblical Hebrew as an explanation for non-standard linguistic features of biblical texts.” ref

Early post-Biblical Hebrew

Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, corresponding to the Hellenistic and Roman Periods before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and represented by the Qumran Scrolls that form most (but not all) of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Commonly abbreviated as DSS Hebrew, also called Qumran Hebrew. The Imperial Aramaic script of the earlier scrolls in the 3rd century BCE evolved into the Hebrew square script of the later scrolls in the 1st century CE, also known as ketav Ashuri (Assyrian script), still in use today.” ref

  • Mishnaic Hebrew from the 1st to the 3rd or 4th century CE, corresponding to the Roman Period after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and represented by the bulk of the Mishnah and Tosefta within the Talmud and by the Dead Sea Scrolls, notably the Bar Kokhba letters and the Copper Scroll. Also called Tannaitic Hebrew or Early Rabbinic Hebrew.” ref

“Sometimes the above phases of spoken Classical Hebrew are simplified into “Biblical Hebrew” (including several dialects from the 10th century BCE to 2nd century BCE and extant in certain Dead Sea Scrolls) and “Mishnaic Hebrew” (including several dialects from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE and extant in certain other Dead Sea Scrolls). However, today most Hebrew linguists classify Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew as a set of dialects evolving out of Late Biblical Hebrew and into Mishnaic Hebrew, thus including elements from both but remaining distinct from either. By the start of the Byzantine Period in the 4th century CE, Classical Hebrew ceased as a regularly spoken language, roughly a century after the publication of the Mishnah, apparently declining since the aftermath of the catastrophic Bar Kokhba revolt around 135 CE.” ref

Displacement by Aramaic

“In the early 6th century BCE, the Neo-Babylonian Empire conquered the ancient Kingdom of Judah, destroying much of Jerusalem and exiling its population far to the East in Babylon. During the Babylonian captivity, many Israelites learned Aramaic, the closely related Semitic language of their captors. Thus for a significant period, the Jewish elite became influenced by Aramaic.” ref

“After Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, he allowed the Jewish people to return from captivity. As a result, a local version of Aramaic came to be spoken in Israel alongside Hebrew. By the beginning of the Common Era, Aramaic was the primary colloquial language of Samarian, Babylonian, and Galileean Jews, and western and intellectual Jews spoke Greek,[citation needed] but a form of so-called Rabbinic Hebrew continued to be used as a vernacular in Judea until it was displaced by Aramaic, probably in the 3rd century CE. Certain Sadducee, Pharisee, Scribe, Hermit, Zealot, and Priest classes maintained an insistence on Hebrew, and all Jews maintained their identity with Hebrew songs and simple quotations from Hebrew texts.” ref

“While there is no doubt that at a certain point, Hebrew was displaced as the everyday spoken language of most Jews, and that its chief successor in the Middle East was the closely related Aramaic language, then Greek, scholarly opinions on the exact dating of that shift have changed very much. In the first half of the 20th century, most scholars followed Geiger and Dalman in thinking that Aramaic became a spoken language in the land of Israel as early as the beginning of Israel’s Hellenistic Period in the 4th century BCE, and that as a corollary Hebrew ceased to function as a spoken language around the same time. Segal, Klausner, and Ben Yehuda are notable exceptions to this view. During the latter half of the 20th century, accumulating archaeological evidence and especially linguistic analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls has disproven that view. The Dead Sea Scrolls, uncovered in 1946–1948 near Qumran revealed ancient Jewish texts overwhelmingly in Hebrew, not Aramaic.” ref

“The Qumran scrolls indicate that Hebrew texts were readily understandable to the average Israelite, and that the language had evolved since Biblical times as spoken languages do Recent scholarship recognizes that reports of Jews speaking in Aramaic indicate a multilingual society, not necessarily the primary language spoken. Alongside Aramaic, Hebrew co-existed within Israel as a spoken language. Most scholars now date the demise of Hebrew as a spoken language to the end of the Roman Period, or about 200 CE. It continued on as a literary language down through the Byzantine Period from the 4th century CE.” ref

“The exact roles of Aramaic and Hebrew remain hotly debated. A trilingual scenario has been proposed for the land of Israel. Hebrew functioned as the local mother tongue with powerful ties to Israel’s history, origins, and golden age and as the language of Israel’s religion; Aramaic functioned as the international language with the rest of the Middle East; and eventually Greek functioned as another international language with the eastern areas of the Roman Empire. William Schniedewind argues that after waning in the Persian Period, the religious importance of Hebrew grew in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and cites epigraphical evidence that Hebrew survived as a vernacular language – though both its grammar and its writing system had been substantially influenced by Aramaic. According to another summary, Greek was the language of government, Hebrew the language of prayer, study, and religious texts, and Aramaic was the language of legal contracts and trade.” ref

“There was also a geographic pattern: according to Spolsky, by the beginning of the Common Era, “Judeo-Aramaic was mainly used in Galilee in the north, Greek was concentrated in the former colonies and around governmental centers, and Hebrew monolingualism continued mainly in the southern villages of Judea.” In other words, “in terms of dialect geography, at the time of the tannaim Palestine could be divided into the Aramaic-speaking regions of Galilee and Samaria and a smaller area, Judaea, in which Rabbinic Hebrew was used among the descendants of returning exiles.” In addition, it has been surmised that Koine Greek was the primary vehicle of communication in coastal cities and among the upper class of Jerusalem, while Aramaic was prevalent in the lower class of Jerusalem, but not in the surrounding countryside. After the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in the 2nd century CE, Judaeans were forced to disperse. Many relocated to Galilee, so most remaining native speakers of Hebrew at that last stage would have been found in the north.” ref

“The Christian New Testament contains some Semitic place names and quotes. The language of such Semitic glosses (and in general the language spoken by Jews in scenes from the New Testament) is often referred to as “Hebrew” in the text, although this term is often re-interpreted as referring to Aramaic instead and is rendered accordingly in recent translations. Nonetheless, these glosses can be interpreted as Hebrew as well. It has been argued that Hebrew, rather than Aramaic or Koine Greek, lay behind the composition of the Gospel of Matthew. (See the Hebrew Gospel hypothesis or Language of Jesus for more details on Hebrew and Aramaic in the gospels.)” ref

Mishnah and Talmud

Main article: Mishnaic Hebrew

“The term “Mishnaic Hebrew” generally refers to the Hebrew dialects found in the Talmud, excepting quotations from the Hebrew Bible. The dialects organize into Mishnaic Hebrew (also called Tannaitic Hebrew, Early Rabbinic Hebrew, or Mishnaic Hebrew I), which was a spoken language, and Amoraic Hebrew (also called Late Rabbinic Hebrew or Mishnaic Hebrew II), which was a literary language. The earlier section of the Talmud is the Mishnah that was published around 200 CE, although many of the stories take place much earlier, and was written in the earlier Mishnaic dialect. The dialect is also found in certain Dead Sea Scrolls. Mishnaic Hebrew is considered to be one of the dialects of Classical Hebrew that functioned as a living language in the land of Israel. A transitional form of the language occurs in the other works of Tannaitic literature dating from the century beginning with the completion of the Mishnah. These include the halachic Midrashim (Sifra, Sifre, Mechilta etc.) and the expanded collection of Mishnah-related material known as the Tosefta. The Talmud contains excerpts from these works, as well as further Tannaitic material not attested elsewhere; the generic term for these passages is Baraitot. The dialect of all these works is very similar to Mishnaic Hebrew.” ref

“About a century after the publication of the Mishnah, Mishnaic Hebrew fell into disuse as a spoken language. The later section of the Talmud, the Gemara, generally comments on the Mishnah and Baraitot in two forms of Aramaic. Nevertheless, Hebrew survived as a liturgical and literary language in the form of later Amoraic Hebrew, which sometimes occurs in the text of the Gemara.” ref

“Hebrew was always regarded as the language of Israel’s religion, history, and national pride, and after it faded as a spoken language, it continued to be used as a lingua franca among scholars and Jews traveling in foreign countries. After the 200 CE when the Roman Empire exiled most of the Jewish population of Jerusalem following the Bar Kokhba revolt, they adapted to the societies in which they found themselves, yet letters, contracts, commerce, science, philosophy, medicine, poetry, and laws continued to be written mostly in Hebrew, which adapted by borrowing and inventing terms.” ref

Medieval Hebrew

“After the Talmud, various regional literary dialects of Medieval Hebrew evolved. The most important is Tiberian Hebrew or Masoretic Hebrew, a local dialect of Tiberias in Galilee that became the standard for vocalizing the Hebrew Bible and thus still influences all other regional dialects of Hebrew. This Tiberian Hebrew from the 7th to 10th century CE is sometimes called “Biblical Hebrew” because it is used to pronounce the Hebrew Bible; however, properly it should be distinguished from the historical Biblical Hebrew of the 6th century BCE, whose original pronunciation must be reconstructed.” ref

“Tiberian Hebrew incorporates the remarkable scholarship of the Masoretes (from masoret meaning “tradition”), who added vowel points and grammar points to the Hebrew letters to preserve much earlier features of Hebrew, for use in chanting the Hebrew Bible. The Masoretes inherited a biblical text whose letters were considered too sacred to be altered, so their markings were in the form of pointing in and around the letters. The Syriac alphabet, precursor to the Arabic alphabet, also developed vowel pointing systems around this time. The Aleppo Codex, a Hebrew Bible with the Masoretic pointing, was written in the 10th century, likely in Tiberias, and survives to this day. It is perhaps the most important Hebrew manuscript in existence.” ref

“During the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, important work was done by grammarians in explaining the grammar and vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew; much of this was based on the work of the grammarians of Classical Arabic. Important Hebrew grammarians were Judah ben David Hayyuj, Jonah ibn Janah, Abraham ibn Ezra, and later (in Provence), David Kimhi. A great deal of poetry was written, by poets such as Dunash ben Labrat, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Judah ha-Levi, Moses ibn Ezra and Abraham ibn Ezra, in a “purified” Hebrew based on the work of these grammarians, and in Arabic quantitative or strophic meters. This literary Hebrew was later used by Italian Jewish poets.” ref

The need to express scientific and philosophical concepts from Classical Greek and Medieval Arabic motivated Medieval Hebrew to borrow terminology and grammar from these other languages, or to coin equivalent terms from existing Hebrew roots, giving rise to a distinct style of philosophical Hebrew. This is used in the translations made by the Ibn Tibbon family. (Original Jewish philosophical works were usually written in Arabic. Another important influence was Maimonides, who developed a simple style based on Mishnaic Hebrew for use in his law code, the Mishneh Torah. Subsequent rabbinic literature is written in a blend between this style and the Aramaized Rabbinic Hebrew of the Talmud.

“Hebrew persevered through the ages as the main language for written purposes by all Jewish communities around the world for a large range of uses—not only liturgy, but also poetry, philosophy, science and medicine, commerce, daily correspondence, and contracts. There have been many deviations from this generalization such as Bar Kokhba‘s letters to his lieutenants, which were mostly in Aramaic, and Maimonides‘ writings, which were mostly in Arabic; but overall, Hebrew did not cease to be used for such purposes. For example, the first Middle East printing press, in Safed (modern Israel), produced a small number of books in Hebrew in 1577, which were then sold to the nearby Jewish world.” ref

“This meant not only that well-educated Jews in all parts of the world could correspond in a mutually intelligible language, and that books and legal documents published or written in any part of the world could be read by Jews in all other parts, but that an educated Jew could travel and converse with Jews in distant places, just as priests and other educated Christians could converse in Latin. For example, Rabbi Avraham Danzig wrote the Chayei Adam in Hebrew, as opposed to Yiddish, as a guide to Halacha for the “average 17-year-old” (Ibid. Introduction 1). Similarly, the Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan‘s purpose in writing the Mishna Berurah was to “produce a work that could be studied daily so that Jews might know the proper procedures to follow minute by minute”. The work was nevertheless written in Talmudic Hebrew and Aramaic, since, “the ordinary Jew [of Eastern Europe] of a century ago, was fluent enough in this idiom to be able to follow the Mishna Berurah without any trouble.” ref

Lake Van

Lake Van (Turkish: Van Gölü; Armenian: Վանա լիճ, Vana lič̣; Kurdish: Gola Wanê‎), the largest lake in the Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey, and the Armenian Highlands,[3][4] lies in the far east of Turkey in the provinces of Van and Bitlis. It is a saline soda lake, receiving water from many small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. It is one of the world’s few endorheic lakes (a lake having no outlet) of greater size than 3,000 square kilometers and has 38% of the country’s surface water (including rivers). A volcanic eruption blocked its original outlet in prehistoric times. It sits at 1,640 m (5,380 ft) which makes for several weeks each year usually below zero degrees celsius. High salinity mainly prevents it from freezing at such times. Specifically, the shallow northern section can freeze, but rarely.” ref

“Lake Van is primarily a tectonic lake, formed more than 600,000 years ago by the gradual subsidence of a large block of the earth’s crust due to movement on several major faults that run through this portion of Eastern Anatolia. The lake’s southern margin demarcates: a metamorphic rock zone of the Bitlis Massif and volcanic strata of the Neogene and Quaternary periods. The deep, western portion of the lake is a antidome basin in a tectonic depression. This was formed by normal and strike-slip faulting and thrusting.” ref

“The lake’s proximity to the Karlıova Triple Junction has led to molten fluids of the Earth’s mantle accumulating in the strata beneath, still driving gradual change. Dominating the lake’s northern shore is the stratovolcano Mount Süphan. The broad crater of a second, dormant volcano, Mount Nemrut, is close to the western tip of the lake. There is hydrothermal activity throughout the region. For much of its history, until the Pleistocene, Lake Van has had an outlet towards the southwest. However, the level of this threshold has varied over time, as the lake has been blocked by successive lava flows from Nemrut volcano westward towards the Muş Plain. This threshold has then been lowered at times by erosion.” ref

Prehistoric lake levels

“Land terraces (remnant dry, upper banks from previous shorelines) above the present shore have long been recognized. On a visit in 1898, geologist Felix Oswald noted three raised beaches at 15, 50, and 100 feet (5, 15, and 30 meters) above the lake then, as well as recently drowned trees. Research in the past century has identified many similar terraces, and the lake’s level has fluctuated significantly during that time. As the lake has no outlet, the level over recent millennia rests on inflow and evaporation.” ref

“The water level has vacillated greatly. An investigation by a team including Degens in the early 1980s determined that the highest lake levels (72 meters (236 ft) above the current height) had been during the last ice age, about 18,000 years ago. Approximately 9,500 years ago there was a dramatic drop to more than 300 meters (980 ft) below the present level. This was followed by an equally-dramatic rise around 6,500 years ago. As a deep lake with no outlet, Lake Van has accumulated great amounts of sediment washed in from surrounding plains and valleys, and occasionally deposited as ash from eruptions of nearby volcanoes. This layer of sediment is estimated to be up to 400 meters (1,300 ft) thick in places, and has attracted climatologists and vulcanologists interested in drilling cores to examine the layered sediments.” ref

“In 1989 and 1990, an international team of geologists led by Stephan Kempe from the University of Hamburg retrieved ten sediment cores from depths up to 446 m (1,463 ft). Although these cores only penetrated the first few meters of sediment, they provided sufficient varves to give proxy climate data for up to 14,570 years ago. A team of scientists headed by paleontologist Professor Thomas Litt at the University of Bonn has applied for funding from the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) for an akin deeper-drilling project. This expects to find it “stores the climate history of the last 800,000 years—an incomparable treasure house of data which we want to tap for at least the last 500,000 years.” A test drilling in 2004 detected evidence of 15 volcanic eruptions in the past 20,000 years.” ref


Tushpa, the capital of Urartu, near the shores, on the site of what became medieval Van’s castle, west of present-day Van city. The ruins of the medieval city of Van are still visible below the southern slopes of the rock on which Van Castle stands. In 2017, archaeologists from Van Yüzüncü Yil University and a team of independent divers who were exploring Lake Van reported the discovery of a large underwater fortress spanning roughly one kilometer. The team estimates that this fortress was constructed during the Urartian period, based on their visual assessments. The archaeologists believe that the fortress, along with other parts of the ancient city that surrounded it at the time, had slowly become submerged over the millennia by the gradually rising lake.” ref

Armenian kingdoms

“The lake was the center of the Armenian kingdom of Ararat from about 1000 BCE, afterwards of the Satrapy of Armina, Kingdom of Greater Armenia, and the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan. Along with Lake Sevan in today’s Armenia and Lake Urmia in today’s Iran, Van was one of the three great lakes of the Armenian Kingdom, referred to as the seas of Armenia (in ancient Assyrian sources: “tâmtu ša mât Nairi” (Upper Sea of Nairi), the Lower Sea being Lake Urmia). Over time, the lake was known by various Armenian names, including Armenian: Վանա լիճ (Lake of Van), Վանա ծով (Sea of Van), Արճեշի ծով (Sea of Arčeš), Բզնունեաց ծով (Sea of Bznunik), Ռշտունեաց ծով (Sea of Rshtunik), and Տոսպայ լիճ (Lake of Tosp).” ref

East Roman Empire

“By the 11th century, the lake was on the border between the East Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, and the Turko-Persian Seljuk Empire, with its capital at Isfahan. In the uneasy peace between the two empires, local Armenian-Byzantine landowners employed Turcoman gazis and Byzantine akritai for protection. The Greek-speaking Byzantines called the lake Thospitis limne (Medieval Greek: Θωσπῖτις λίμνη).” ref

“In the second half of the 11th century, Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes launched a campaign to re-conquer Armenia and head off growing Seljuk control. Diogenes and his large army crossed the Euphrates and confronted a much smaller Seljuk force led by Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert, north of Lake Van on 26 August 1071. Despite their greater numbers, the cumbersome Byzantine force was defeated by the more mobile Turkish horsemen and Diogenes was captured.” ref

Seljuk Empire

Alp Arslan divided the conquered eastern portions of the Byzantine empire among his Turcoman generals, with each ruled as a hereditary beylik, under overall sovereignty of the Seljuq Empire. Alp Arslan gave the region around Lake Van to his commander Sökmen el-Kutbî, who set up his capital at Ahlat on the western side of the lake. The dynasty of Shah-Armens, also known as Sökmenler, ruled this area from 1085 to 1192. The Ahlatshahs were succeeded by the Ayyubid dynasty.” ref

Ottoman Empire

“Following the disintegration of the Seljuq-ruled Sultanate of Rum, Lake Van and its surroundings were conquered by the Ilkhanate Mongols, and later switched hands between the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Iran until Sultan Selim I took control for good. Reports of the Lake Van Monster surfaced in the late 1800s and gained popularity. A news article was published by Saadet Gazetesi issue number 1323, dated 28 Shaban 1306 Hijri year, corresponding to 29 April 1889 during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey 

“How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.” ref

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.


Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history:

I am not an academic. I am a revolutionary that teaches in public, in places like social media, and in the streets. I am not a leader by some title given but from my commanding leadership style of simply to start teaching everywhere to everyone, all manner of positive education. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Low Gods “Earth” or Tutelary deity and High Gods “Sky” or Supreme deity

“An Earth goddess is a deification of the Earth. Earth goddesses are often associated with the “chthonic” deities of the underworldKi and Ninhursag are Mesopotamian earth goddesses. In Greek mythology, the Earth is personified as Gaia, corresponding to Roman Terra, Indic Prithvi/Bhūmi, etc. traced to an “Earth Mother” complementary to the “Sky Father” in Proto-Indo-European religionEgyptian mythology exceptionally has a sky goddess and an Earth god.” ref

“A mother goddess is a goddess who represents or is a personification of naturemotherhoodfertilitycreationdestruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother. In some religious traditions or movements, Heavenly Mother (also referred to as Mother in Heaven or Sky Mother) is the wife or feminine counterpart of the Sky father or God the Father.” ref

Any masculine sky god is often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such king gods are collectively categorized as “sky father” deities, with a polarity between sky and earth often being expressed by pairing a “sky father” god with an “earth mother” goddess (pairings of a sky mother with an earth father are less frequent). A main sky goddess is often the queen of the gods and may be an air/sky goddess in her own right, though she usually has other functions as well with “sky” not being her main. In antiquity, several sky goddesses in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Near East were called Queen of Heaven. Neopagans often apply it with impunity to sky goddesses from other regions who were never associated with the term historically. The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky.” ref

“In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept in polytheistic religions of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon and is often either a reigning or former King of the Gods. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics, such as Ra. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother“. “Sky Father” is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity name as the Greek Zeûs Pater and Roman Jupiter and Germanic Týr, Tir or Tiwaz, all of which are reflexes of the same Proto-Indo-European deity’s name, *Dyēus Ph₂tḗr. While there are numerous parallels adduced from outside of Indo-European mythology, there are exceptions (e.g. In Egyptian mythology, Nut is the sky mother and Geb is the earth father).” ref

Tutelary deity

“A tutelary (also tutelar) is a deity or spirit who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of “tutelary” expresses the concept of safety and thus of guardianship. In late Greek and Roman religion, one type of tutelary deity, the genius, functions as the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit of European folklore.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) iKorean shamanismjangseung and sotdae were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities. Seonangshin is the patron deity of the village in Korean tradition and was believed to embody the SeonangdangIn Philippine animism, Diwata or Lambana are deities or spirits that inhabit sacred places like mountains and mounds and serve as guardians. Such as: Maria Makiling is the deity who guards Mt. Makiling and Maria Cacao and Maria Sinukuan. In Shinto, the spirits, or kami, which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped. And similarly, Native American beliefs such as Tonás, tutelary animal spirit among the Zapotec and Totems, familial or clan spirits among the Ojibwe, can be animals.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Austronesian beliefs such as: Atua (gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians), Hanitu (Bunun of Taiwan‘s term for spirit), Hyang (KawiSundaneseJavanese, and Balinese Supreme Being, in ancient Java and Bali mythology and this spiritual entity, can be either divine or ancestral), Kaitiaki (New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land), Kawas (mythology) (divided into 6 groups: gods, ancestors, souls of the living, spirits of living things, spirits of lifeless objects, and ghosts), Tiki (Māori mythologyTiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne and represents deified ancestors found in most Polynesian cultures). ” ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Mesopotamian Tutelary Deities can be seen as ones related to City-States 

“Historical city-states included Sumerian cities such as Uruk and UrAncient Egyptian city-states, such as Thebes and Memphis; the Phoenician cities (such as Tyre and Sidon); the five Philistine city-states; the Berber city-states of the Garamantes; the city-states of ancient Greece (the poleis such as AthensSpartaThebes, and Corinth); the Roman Republic (which grew from a city-state into a vast empire); the Italian city-states from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, such as FlorenceSienaFerraraMilan (which as they grew in power began to dominate neighboring cities) and Genoa and Venice, which became powerful thalassocracies; the Mayan and other cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (including cities such as Chichen ItzaTikalCopán and Monte Albán); the central Asian cities along the Silk Road; the city-states of the Swahili coastRagusa; states of the medieval Russian lands such as Novgorod and Pskov; and many others.” ref

“The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BCE; also known as Protoliterate period) of Mesopotamia, named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization. City-States like Uruk and others had a patron tutelary City Deity along with a Priest-King.” ref

Chinese folk religion, both past, and present, includes myriad tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals, highly cultivated sages, and prominent ancestors can be deified and honored after death. Lord Guan is the patron of military personnel and police, while Mazu is the patron of fishermen and sailors. Such as Tu Di Gong (Earth Deity) is the tutelary deity of a locality, and each individual locality has its own Earth Deity and Cheng Huang Gong (City God) is the guardian deity of an individual city, worshipped by local officials and locals since imperial times.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Hinduism, personal tutelary deities are known as ishta-devata, while family tutelary deities are known as Kuladevata. Gramadevata are guardian deities of villages. Devas can also be seen as tutelary. Shiva is the patron of yogis and renunciants. City goddesses include: Mumbadevi (Mumbai), Sachchika (Osian); Kuladevis include: Ambika (Porwad), and Mahalakshmi. In NorthEast India Meitei mythology and religion (Sanamahism) of Manipur, there are various types of tutelary deities, among which Lam Lais are the most predominant ones. Tibetan Buddhism has Yidam as a tutelary deity. Dakini is the patron of those who seek knowledge.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) The Greeks also thought deities guarded specific places: for instance, Athena was the patron goddess of the city of Athens. Socrates spoke of hearing the voice of his personal spirit or daimonion:

You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me … . This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician.” ref

“Tutelary deities who guard and preserve a place or a person are fundamental to ancient Roman religion. The tutelary deity of a man was his Genius, that of a woman her Juno. In the Imperial era, the Genius of the Emperor was a focus of Imperial cult. An emperor might also adopt a major deity as his personal patron or tutelary, as Augustus did Apollo. Precedents for claiming the personal protection of a deity were established in the Republican era, when for instance the Roman dictator Sulla advertised the goddess Victory as his tutelary by holding public games (ludi) in her honor.” ref

“Each town or city had one or more tutelary deities, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. Rome itself was protected by a goddess whose name was to be kept ritually secret on pain of death (for a supposed case, see Quintus Valerius Soranus). The Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva were also tutelaries of Rome. The Italic towns had their own tutelary deities. Juno often had this function, as at the Latin town of Lanuvium and the Etruscan city of Veii, and was often housed in an especially grand temple on the arx (citadel) or other prominent or central location. The tutelary deity of Praeneste was Fortuna, whose oracle was renowned.” ref

“The Roman ritual of evocatio was premised on the belief that a town could be made vulnerable to military defeat if the power of its tutelary deity were diverted outside the city, perhaps by the offer of superior cult at Rome. The depiction of some goddesses such as the Magna Mater (Great Mother, or Cybele) as “tower-crowned” represents their capacity to preserve the city. A town in the provinces might adopt a deity from within the Roman religious sphere to serve as its guardian, or syncretize its own tutelary with such; for instance, a community within the civitas of the Remi in Gaul adopted Apollo as its tutelary, and at the capital of the Remi (present-day Rheims), the tutelary was Mars Camulus.” ref 

Household deity (a kind of or related to a Tutelary deity)

“A household deity is a deity or spirit that protects the home, looking after the entire household or certain key members. It has been a common belief in paganism as well as in folklore across many parts of the world. Household deities fit into two types; firstly, a specific deity – typically a goddess – often referred to as a hearth goddess or domestic goddess who is associated with the home and hearth, such as the ancient Greek Hestia.” ref

“The second type of household deities are those that are not one singular deity, but a type, or species of animistic deity, who usually have lesser powers than major deities. This type was common in the religions of antiquity, such as the Lares of ancient Roman religion, the Gashin of Korean shamanism, and Cofgodas of Anglo-Saxon paganism. These survived Christianisation as fairy-like creatures existing in folklore, such as the Anglo-Scottish Brownie and Slavic Domovoy.” ref

“Household deities were usually worshipped not in temples but in the home, where they would be represented by small idols (such as the teraphim of the Bible, often translated as “household gods” in Genesis 31:19 for example), amulets, paintings, or reliefs. They could also be found on domestic objects, such as cosmetic articles in the case of Tawaret. The more prosperous houses might have a small shrine to the household god(s); the lararium served this purpose in the case of the Romans. The gods would be treated as members of the family and invited to join in meals, or be given offerings of food and drink.” ref

“In many religions, both ancient and modern, a god would preside over the home. Certain species, or types, of household deities, existed. An example of this was the Roman Lares. Many European cultures retained house spirits into the modern period. Some examples of these include:

“Although the cosmic status of household deities was not as lofty as that of the Twelve Olympians or the Aesir, they were also jealous of their dignity and also had to be appeased with shrines and offerings, however humble. Because of their immediacy they had arguably more influence on the day-to-day affairs of men than the remote gods did. Vestiges of their worship persisted long after Christianity and other major religions extirpated nearly every trace of the major pagan pantheons. Elements of the practice can be seen even today, with Christian accretions, where statues to various saints (such as St. Francis) protect gardens and grottos. Even the gargoyles found on older churches, could be viewed as guardians partitioning a sacred space.” ref

“For centuries, Christianity fought a mop-up war against these lingering minor pagan deities, but they proved tenacious. For example, Martin Luther‘s Tischreden have numerous – quite serious – references to dealing with kobolds. Eventually, rationalism and the Industrial Revolution threatened to erase most of these minor deities, until the advent of romantic nationalism rehabilitated them and embellished them into objects of literary curiosity in the 19th century. Since the 20th century this literature has been mined for characters for role-playing games, video games, and other fantasy personae, not infrequently invested with invented traits and hierarchies somewhat different from their mythological and folkloric roots.” ref

“In contradistinction to both Herbert Spencer and Edward Burnett Tylor, who defended theories of animistic origins of ancestor worship, Émile Durkheim saw its origin in totemism. In reality, this distinction is somewhat academic, since totemism may be regarded as a particularized manifestation of animism, and something of a synthesis of the two positions was attempted by Sigmund Freud. In Freud’s Totem and Taboo, both totem and taboo are outward expressions or manifestations of the same psychological tendency, a concept which is complementary to, or which rather reconciles, the apparent conflict. Freud preferred to emphasize the psychoanalytic implications of the reification of metaphysical forces, but with particular emphasis on its familial nature. This emphasis underscores, rather than weakens, the ancestral component.” ref

William Edward Hearn, a noted classicist, and jurist, traced the origin of domestic deities from the earliest stages as an expression of animism, a belief system thought to have existed also in the neolithic, and the forerunner of Indo-European religion. In his analysis of the Indo-European household, in Chapter II “The House Spirit”, Section 1, he states:

The belief which guided the conduct of our forefathers was … the spirit rule of dead ancestors.” ref

“In Section 2 he proceeds to elaborate:

It is thus certain that the worship of deceased ancestors is a vera causa, and not a mere hypothesis. …

In the other European nations, the Slavs, the Teutons, and the Kelts, the House Spirit appears with no less distinctness. … [T]he existence of that worship does not admit of doubt. … The House Spirits had a multitude of other names which it is needless here to enumerate, but all of which are more or less expressive of their friendly relations with man. … In [England] … [h]e is the Brownie. … In Scotland this same Brownie is well known. He is usually described as attached to particular families, with whom he has been known to reside for centuries, threshing the corn, cleaning the house, and performing similar household tasks. His favorite gratification was milk and honey.” ref

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ref, ref

Hinduism around 3,700 to 3,500 years old. ref

 Judaism around 3,450 or 3,250 years old. (The first writing in the bible was “Paleo-Hebrew” dated to around 3,000 years ago Khirbet Qeiyafa is the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley. And many believe the religious Jewish texts were completed around 2,500) ref, ref

Judaism is around 3,450 or 3,250 years old. (“Paleo-Hebrew” 3,000 years ago and Torah 2,500 years ago)

“Judaism is an Abrahamic, its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Some scholars argue that modern Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions.” ref

“Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of ancient Israel, essentially polytheistic, with a plethora of gods and goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, the national god of the Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah, with his consort, the goddess Asherah; below them were second-tier gods and goddesses such as Baal, Shamash, Yarikh, Mot, and Astarte, all of whom had their own priests and prophets and numbered royalty among their devotees, and a third and fourth tier of minor divine beings, including the mal’ak, the messengers of the higher gods, who in later times became the angels of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yahweh, however, was not the ‘original’ god of Israel “Isra-El”; it is El, the head of the Canaanite pantheon, whose name forms the basis of the name “Israel”, and none of the Old Testament patriarchs, the tribes of Israel, the Judges, or the earliest monarchs, have a Yahwistic theophoric name (i.e., one incorporating the name of Yahweh).” ref

“El is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity“, or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major ancient Near Eastern deities. A rarer form, ‘ila, represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic *ʔil-, meaning “god”. Specific deities known as ‘El or ‘Il include the supreme god of the ancient Canaanite religion and the supreme god of East Semitic speakers in Mesopotamia’s Early Dynastic Period. ʼĒl is listed at the head of many pantheons. In some Canaanite and Ugaritic sources, ʼĒl played a role as father of the gods, of creation, or both. For example, in the Ugaritic texts, ʾil mlk is understood to mean “ʼĒl the King” but ʾil hd as “the god Hadad“. The Semitic root ʾlh (Arabic ʾilāh, Aramaic ʾAlāh, ʾElāh, Hebrew ʾelōah) may be ʾl with a parasitic h, and ʾl may be an abbreviated form of ʾlh. In Ugaritic the plural form meaning “gods” is ʾilhm, equivalent to Hebrew ʾelōhîm “powers”. In the Hebrew texts this word is interpreted as being semantically singular for “god” by biblical commentators. However the documentary hypothesis for the Old Testament (corresponds to the Jewish Torah) developed originally in the 1870s, identifies these that different authors – the Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, and the Priestly source – were responsible for editing stories from a polytheistic religion into those of a monotheistic religion. Inconsistencies that arise between monotheism and polytheism in the texts are reflective of this hypothesis.” ref


Jainism around 2,599 – 2,527 years old. ref

Confucianism around 2,600 – 2,551 years old. ref

Buddhism around 2,563/2,480 – 2,483/2,400 years old. ref

Christianity around 2,o00 years old. ref

Shinto around 1,305 years old. ref

Islam around 1407–1385 years old. ref

Sikhism around 548–478 years old. ref

Bahá’í around 200–125 years old. ref

Knowledge to Ponder: 


  • Possibly, around 30,000 years ago (in simpler form) to 6,000 years ago, Stars/Astrology are connected to Ancestors, Spirit Animals, and Deities.
  • The star also seems to be a possible proto-star for Star of Ishtar, Star of Inanna, or Star of Venus.
  • Around 7,000 to 6,000 years ago, Star Constellations/Astrology have connections to the “Kurgan phenomenon” of below-ground “mound” stone/wood burial structures and “Dolmen phenomenon” of above-ground stone burial structures.
  • Around 6,500–5,800 years ago, The Northern Levant migrations into Jordon and Israel in the Southern Levant brought new cultural and religious transfer from Turkey and Iran.
  • “The Ghassulian Star,” a mysterious 6,000-year-old mural from Jordan may have connections to the European paganstic kurgan/dolmens phenomenon.

“Astrology is a range of divinatory practices, recognized as pseudoscientific since the 18th century, that claim to discern information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the apparent positions of celestial objects. Different cultures have employed forms of astrology since at least the 2nd millennium BCE, these practices having originated in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Most, if not all, cultures have attached importance to what they observed in the sky, and some—such as the HindusChinese, and the Maya—developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from where it spread to Ancient GreeceRome, the Islamicate world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person’s personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.” ref 

Around 5,500 years ago, Science evolves, The first evidence of science was 5,500 years ago and was demonstrated by a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world. ref

Around 5,000 years ago, Origin of Logics is a Naturalistic Observation (principles of valid reasoning, inference, & demonstration) ref

Around 4,150 to 4,000 years ago: The earliest surviving versions of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, which was originally titled “He who Saw the Deep” (Sha naqba īmuru) or “Surpassing All Other Kings” (Shūtur eli sharrī) were written. ref


  • 3,700 years ago or so, the oldest of the Hindu Vedas (scriptures), the Rig Veda was composed.
  • 3,500 years ago or so, the Vedic Age began in India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization.


  • around 3,000 years ago, the first writing in the bible was “Paleo-Hebrew”
  • around 2,500 years ago, many believe the religious Jewish texts were completed

Myths: The bible inspired religion is not just one religion or one myth but a grouping of several religions and myths

  • Around 3,450 or 3,250 years ago, according to legend, is the traditionally accepted period in which the Israelite lawgiver, Moses, provided the Ten Commandments.
  • Around 2,500 to 2,400 years ago, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, or Old Testament is the first part of Christianity’s bible.
  • Around 2,400 years ago, the most accepted hypothesis is that the canon was formed in stages, first the Pentateuch (Torah).
  • Around 2,140 to 2,116 years ago, the Prophets was written during the Hasmonean dynasty, and finally the remaining books.
  • Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections:
  • The first five books or Pentateuch (Torah).
  • The proposed history books telling the history of the Israelites from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon.
  • The poetic and proposed “Wisdom books” dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world.
  • The books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God:
  • Henotheism:
  • Exodus 20:23 “You shall not make other gods besides Me (not saying there are no other gods just not to worship them); gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.”
  • Polytheism:
  • Judges 10:6 “Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.”
  • 1 Corinthians 8:5 “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords.”
  • Monotheism:
  • Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Around 2,570 to 2,270 Years Ago, there is a confirmation of atheistic doubting as well as atheistic thinking, mainly by Greek philosophers. However, doubting gods is likely as old as the invention of gods and should destroy the thinking that belief in god(s) is the “default belief”. The Greek word is apistos (a “not” and pistos “faithful,”), thus not faithful or faithless because one is unpersuaded and unconvinced by a god(s) claim. Short Definition: unbelieving, unbeliever, or unbelief.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Expressions of Atheistic Thinking:

  • Around 2,600 years ago, Ajita Kesakambali, ancient Indian philosopher, who is the first known proponent of Indian materialism. ref
  • Around 2,535 to 2,475 years ago, Heraclitus, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor or modern Turkey. ref
  • Around 2,500 to 2,400 years ago, according to The Story of Civilization book series certain African pygmy tribes have no identifiable gods, spirits, or religious beliefs or rituals, and even what burials accrue are without ceremony. ref
  • Around 2,490 to 2,430 years ago, Empedocles, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. ref
  • Around 2,460 to 2,370 years ago, Democritus, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher considered to be the “father of modern science” possibly had some disbelief amounting to atheism. ref
  • Around 2,399 years ago or so, Socrates, a famous Greek philosopher was tried for sinfulness by teaching doubt of state gods. ref
  • Around 2,341 to 2,270 years ago, Epicurus, a Greek philosopher known for composing atheistic critics and famously stated, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?” ref

This last expression by Epicurus, seems to be an expression of Axiological Atheism. To understand and utilize value or actually possess “Value Conscious/Consciousness” to both give a strong moral “axiological” argument (the problem of evil) as well as use it to fortify humanism and positive ethical persuasion of human helping and care responsibilities. Because value-blindness gives rise to sociopathic/psychopathic evil.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

While hallucinogens are associated with shamanism, it is alcohol that is associated with paganism.

The Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries Shows in the prehistory series:

Show one: Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses.

Show two: Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show tree: Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show four: Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show five: Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show six: Emergence of hierarchy, sexism, slavery, and the new male god dominance: Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves!

Show seven: Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State)

Show eight: Paganism 4,000 years old: Moralistic gods after the rise of Statism and often support Statism/Kings: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism)

Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses: VIDEO

Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Pre-Capitalism): VIDEO

Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves: VIEDO

Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State): VIEDO

Paganism 4,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism): VIEDO

I do not hate simply because I challenge and expose myths or lies any more than others being thought of as loving simply because of the protection and hiding from challenge their favored myths or lies.

The truth is best championed in the sunlight of challenge.

An archaeologist once said to me “Damien religion and culture are very different”

My response, So are you saying that was always that way, such as would you say Native Americans’ cultures are separate from their religions? And do you think it always was the way you believe?

I had said that religion was a cultural product. That is still how I see it and there are other archaeologists that think close to me as well. Gods too are the myths of cultures that did not understand science or the world around them, seeing magic/supernatural everywhere.

I personally think there is a goddess and not enough evidence to support a male god at Çatalhöyük but if there was both a male and female god and goddess then I know the kind of gods they were like Proto-Indo-European mythology.

This series idea was addressed in, Anarchist Teaching as Free Public Education or Free Education in the Public: VIDEO

Our 12 video series: Organized Oppression: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of power (9,000-4,000 years ago), is adapted from: The Complete and Concise History of the Sumerians and Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia (7000-2000 BC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szFjxmY7jQA by “History with Cy

Show #1: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Samarra, Halaf, Ubaid)

Show #2: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Eridu: First City of Power)

Show #3: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Uruk and the First Cities)

Show #4: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (First Kings)

Show #5: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Early Dynastic Period)

Show #6: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (King Lugalzagesi and the First Empire)

Show #7: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Sargon and Akkadian Rule)

Show #8: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Naram-Sin, Post-Akkadian Rule, and the Gutians)

Show #9: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Gudea of Lagash and Utu-hegal)

Show #10: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Third Dynasty of Ur / Neo-Sumerian Empire)

Show #11: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Amorites, Elamites, and the End of an Era)

Show #12: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Aftermath and Legacy of Sumer)

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

The “Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries”

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ Atheist Leftist @Skepticallefty & I (Damien Marie AtHope) @AthopeMarie (my YouTube & related blog) are working jointly in atheist, antitheist, antireligionist, antifascist, anarchist, socialist, and humanist endeavors in our videos together, generally, every other Saturday.

Why Does Power Bring Responsibility?

Think, how often is it the powerless that start wars, oppress others, or commit genocide? So, I guess the question is to us all, to ask, how can power not carry responsibility in a humanity concept? I know I see the deep ethical responsibility that if there is power their must be a humanistic responsibility of ethical and empathic stewardship of that power. Will I be brave enough to be kind? Will I possess enough courage to be compassionate? Will my valor reach its height of empathy? I as everyone, earns our justified respect by our actions, that are good, ethical, just, protecting, and kind. Do I have enough self-respect to put my love for humanity’s flushing, over being brought down by some of its bad actors? May we all be the ones doing good actions in the world, to help human flourishing.

I create the world I want to live in, striving for flourishing. Which is not a place but a positive potential involvement and promotion; a life of humanist goal precision. To master oneself, also means mastering positive prosocial behaviors needed for human flourishing. I may have lost a god myth as an atheist, but I am happy to tell you, my friend, it is exactly because of that, leaving the mental terrorizer, god belief, that I truly regained my connected ethical as well as kind humanity.

Cory and I will talk about prehistory and theism, addressing the relevance to atheism, anarchism, and socialism.

At the same time as the rise of the male god, 7,000 years ago, there was also the very time there was the rise of violence, war, and clans to kingdoms, then empires, then states. It is all connected back to 7,000 years ago, and it moved across the world.

Cory Johnston: https://damienmarieathope.com/2021/04/cory-johnston-mind-of-a-skeptical-leftist/?v=32aec8db952d  

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist (YouTube)

Cory Johnston: Mind of a Skeptical Leftist @Skepticallefty

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist By Cory Johnston: “Promoting critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics by covering current events and talking to a variety of people. Cory Johnston has been thoughtfully talking to people and attempting to promote critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics.” http://anchor.fm/skepticalleft

Cory needs our support. We rise by helping each other.

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ @Skepticallefty Evidence-based atheist leftist (he/him) Producer, host, and co-host of 4 podcasts @skeptarchy @skpoliticspod and @AthopeMarie

Damien Marie AtHope (“At Hope”) Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist. Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Poet, Philosopher, Advocate, Activist, Psychology, and Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Historian.

Damien is interested in: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Ethics, Humanism, Science, Atheism, Antiteism, Antireligionism, Ignosticism, Left-Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism, Mutualism, Axiology, Metaphysics, LGBTQI, Philosophy, Advocacy, Activism, Mental Health, Psychology, Archaeology, Social Work, Sexual Rights, Marriage Rights, Woman’s Rights, Gender Rights, Child Rights, Secular Rights, Race Equality, Ageism/Disability Equality, Etc. And a far-leftist, “Anarcho-Humanist.”

I am not a good fit in the atheist movement that is mostly pro-capitalist, I am anti-capitalist. Mostly pro-skeptic, I am a rationalist not valuing skepticism. Mostly pro-agnostic, I am anti-agnostic. Mostly limited to anti-Abrahamic religions, I am an anti-religionist. 

To me, the “male god” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 7,000 years ago, whereas the now favored monotheism “male god” is more like 4,000 years ago or so. To me, the “female goddess” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 11,000-10,000 years ago or so, losing the majority of its once prominence around 2,000 years ago due largely to the now favored monotheism “male god” that grow in prominence after 4,000 years ago or so. 

My Thought on the Evolution of Gods?

Animal protector deities from old totems/spirit animal beliefs come first to me, 13,000/12,000 years ago, then women as deities 11,000/10,000 years ago, then male gods around 7,000/8,000 years ago. Moralistic gods around 5,000/4,000 years ago, and monotheistic gods around 4,000/3,000 years ago. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Damien Marie AtHope (Said as “At” “Hope”)/(Autodidact Polymath but not good at math):

Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist, Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Jeweler, Poet, “autodidact” Philosopher, schooled in Psychology, and “autodidact” Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Pre-Historian (Knowledgeable in the range of: 1 million to 5,000/4,000 years ago). I am an anarchist socialist politically. Reasons for or Types of Atheism

My Website, My Blog, & Short-writing or QuotesMy YouTube, Twitter: @AthopeMarie, and My Email: damien.marie.athope@gmail.com

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