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Who were the Persians? Iran – West Asian history

By | 2017-11-01T22:57:18+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia, Where|

Central Asian steppe Around 1200 BC, some Indo-European people from Central Asia moved south into West Asia. These people were the Persians and the Medes. The Persians and the Medes were distantly related to the Scythians, the Hittites, the Greeks and the Romans, and they spoke a related language. Like the Scythians, the Medes and the Persians were nomadic people. They travelled around Central Asia [...]

West Asian history – The Levant, Mesopotamia, and Iran

By | 2017-09-14T13:31:44+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Map of West Asia People also call West Asia the Near East or the Middle East. It is the part of Asia that is closest to the Mediterranean Sea. West Asia covers all the land between Russia in the north, Afghanistan in the east, the Persian Gulf in the south, and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Levant is the [...]

Persian and Parthian art – Iran

By | 2017-09-11T22:21:58+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Art, West Asia|

Molded brick relief of Persian archers, from Susa in the 400s BC Not long after the Babylonians made the Ishtar Gate, the Persians conquered the Babylonians. They took over some Assyrian art ideas and also some Babylonian ones. This is a Persian version of the Babylonian clay reliefs. They're still using molded clay bricks, [...]

West Asian architecture – Ancient Mesopotamian architecture

By | 2017-12-11T00:21:54+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Mesopotamian architecture: The Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon, built during the Neo-Babylonian period (600s BC). Now in Berlin. Mesopotamian architecture Builders in Mesopotamia always had a serious problem. There was not enough stone or wood. But there was lots and lots of clay. So their buildings were usually built of brick, or mud-brick. West Asian builders got used [...]

Persia and the Jews – West Asian history

By | 2017-08-24T15:14:57+00:00 August 24th, 2017|History, Religion, West Asia|

The remains of the Second Temple in Jerusalem In 536 BC, Cyrus the Great, the king of the Persians, conquered the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus believed that religious freedom was important to keeping his empire together. And he wanted each area (satrapy) of his empire to rule itself. So he let the Jews go home from Babylon [...]

Daniel in the lion’s den – Bible stories

By | 2017-08-23T22:27:51+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Daniel in the lion's den, from the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 AD in Rome In the Bible story, Daniel was one of the Jews who was in captivity in Babylon during the reign of the Neo-Babylonian kings, in the 600s BC. Like the earlier Joseph (and many other characters in stories), Daniel was able to interpret people's dreams [...]

Babylonian captivity – Jewish history

By | 2017-08-23T17:42:04+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|History, West Asia|

Seal of King Hezekiah, from Judah, about 700 BC Unfortunately for the Jews, the Assyrians did not hold West Asia for very much longer. During the 700s BC, the Assyrians began to lose power. This meant that the Jews could be more independent of the Assyrians. But their neighbors were also more independent. So this also meant that the [...]

Where do Easter eggs come from? History of religion

By | 2017-08-21T22:28:01+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Religion|

Ostrich eggshell from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa (60,000 BC) Easter eggs go back long before Easter, and even long before the beginning of farming. As long ago as the Paleolithic, about 60,000 BC, people in Africa were scratching patterns and lines on ostrich eggs, though nobody knows what they had in mind. By the later Stone Age, [...]

Who were the Indo-Europeans?

By | 2017-07-27T22:55:17+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Map of the spread of Indo-European languages People we call the Yamnaya (Ukrainian for "People who lived in pits") seem to have been speaking an early version of the Indo-European language at least as early as 5000 BC in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, in what is now Armenia and [...]