Why do we still call Mesopotamia the "cradle of civilization"?

Oct 2019
124
West Virginia
About the spread of agriculture: I have not looked into the topic.. So the following is just an assumption of mine... I am assuming that just by observation ( 1 "hey these plants can be eaten" then 2 " hey these plants tend to grow in these places" then 3 " oh look by using these seeds we can make these plants grow ourselves") it would have developed independently in several places (as I assume is the case re the Americas since they could not have contacts with the Crescent)... Now because Egypt is close and the Indus relatively so to the Crescent it is also possible that there were some exchanges "hey these seeds are better than ours" or "look their plants are bigger than ours"
At least in Europe, there is no evidence that contact with farmers led people to become agriculturalists. In fact, Mideastern farmers migrated to both India and Europe.

Agriculture developed independently, apparently, in six or seven regions: fertile crescent, African Sahel, India-SE Asia, China, Peru, Mexico-Guatemala, and some include eastern N America.
 
Oct 2019
124
West Virginia
For Indian scripts it's debatable. But not for Chinese and MesoAmerican scripts
Vincan script is older than Egyptian. Its symbols recur in Sumerian writing, and so it obviously was a precursor of that script. The older Vincan script may in fact be the reason Mesopotamian writing is so un-Egyptian.
 
Dec 2015
341
NYC
Finally, a response after this entire thread seemed to have completely ended...
Anyways...

Vincan script is older than Egyptian. Its symbols recur in Sumerian writing, and so it obviously was a precursor of that script. The older Vincan script may in fact be the reason Mesopotamian writing is so un-Egyptian.
There is no evidence that Vincan script is older, nor did it influence Sumerian cuneiform (both are different from each other). It is also still unknown whether or not the Vinca script was actually a writing system, and it may have just been cultural ornaments/symbols of some sort. Even then, the main writing system that all of Europe (from Portugal to Russia) uses derives from Phoenician script (which in turn evolved from Egyptian hieroglyphics). We don't use Vinca symbols for writing.
 
Dec 2015
341
NYC
I also want to point out, even if the Vinca symbol was a writing system, how come we don't see these symbols in other parts of Europe? The Vinca symbols are mainly restricted to one small part of Europe around the Danube.
 
Oct 2019
124
West Virginia
Finally, a response after this entire thread seemed to have completely ended...
Anyways...


There is no evidence that Vincan script is older, nor did it influence Sumerian cuneiform (both are different from each other). It is also still unknown whether or not the Vinca script was actually a writing system, and it may have just been cultural ornaments/symbols of some sort. Even then, the main writing system that all of Europe (from Portugal to Russia) uses derives from Phoenician script (which in turn evolved from Egyptian hieroglyphics). We don't use Vinca symbols for writing.
Yes, the Tataria tablet dates to far earlier than the earlier known Sumerian script. Many of the symbols in Sumerian and later Mesopotamian writing are identical to Vincan symbols, which are far older. And Vincan products are found in early proto-Sumerian sites.

No set of symbols such as we have from Vinca is anything but a writing system. And, again, those same symbols turn up in Mesopotamian writing much later! We know they are "writing" in Mesopotamia.

Neolithic and Chalcolithic "Old Europe" qualify as "civilization", and their beginnings are older even than those of Sumerian or Egyptian civilization.

We do not use Vincan symbols now because, as recent archaeology increasingly confirms, Gimbutas was right that incoming Indoeuropean speakers from the steppe destroyed Old European societies, very often with great violence.
 
Oct 2019
124
West Virginia
Older doesn't mean better.
Modern Iraq has little to do with ancient Mesopotamia. It is Arab-majority, Muslim, and has been through many transformations since the time of Hammurabi.

Also, its current instability is in large part due to the interference of outside forces (e.g., USA).

Which modern country shall we hold up as an exemplar of a great civilization?
 
Dec 2015
341
NYC
Yes, the Tataria tablet dates to far earlier than the earlier known Sumerian script. Many of the symbols in Sumerian and later Mesopotamian writing are identical to Vincan symbols, which are far older. And Vincan products are found in early proto-Sumerian sites.
No evidence whatsoever of "Vincan products" being found in Southern Iraq. The so called "Vinca culture" that arose in the Balkans was mainly the result of Neolithic migrations from the Near East to the Balkans via Anatolia. There maybe some similarities between the Vinca script and Sumerian cuneiform, but that's about it. Not only can we not find a connection between the two, we still haven't even fully deciphered the symbols.

No set of symbols such as we have from Vinca is anything but a writing system. And, again, those same symbols turn up in Mesopotamian writing much later! We know they are "writing" in Mesopotamia.
There is no full agreement between archaeologists on whether the symbols were used as writing system. The symbols are not yet fully deciphered.
The prevailing theory is that the symbols were used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society. If so, the fact that the same symbols were used for centuries with little change suggests that the ritual meaning and culture represented by the symbols likewise remained constant for a very long time, with no need for further development.
Another problem is, even if it was a script, we don't know what language was used along with it (before the IE migrations). Also, why don't we see these symbols in other parts of Europe? These symbols were confined to one small area of Europe, never widespread, and these symbols predate the IE migrations.


Neolithic and Chalcolithic "Old Europe" qualify as "civilization", and their beginnings are older even than those of Sumerian or Egyptian civilization.

We do not use Vincan symbols now because, as recent archaeology increasingly confirms, Gimbutas was right that incoming Indoeuropean speakers from the steppe destroyed Old European societies, very often with great violence.
There's still alot we need to learn about the Danube before it's qualified as a "civilization". What we know is that they were just an advanced culture, but we still see lack of evidence of any early urbanization (no evidence of cities forming around that area), advanced system of government, economic system, social structure, trade, etc.
Again, we still have yet to fully decipher and come to conclusion that Vinca symbols were a true writing system and not cultural symbols. Speaking of IE migrations, while they did spread their languages throughout Europe, they still kept the agriculture, the old pottery, so it wasn't like they totally destroyed the population. There are still some pre-IE societies (Finns and Basques for ex)
 
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Dec 2015
341
NYC
Older doesn't mean better.

This is Iraq, not Mesopotamia. Two totally different things. The Mesopotamia civilizations (with the exception of Assyrians) are all but gone and replaced with an Arabized and Islamicized population.

It's also dangerous because of Westerners (particularly Americans) keep destabilizing the country.