THE FERTILE CRESCENT THROUGH THE AGES
A Quest Club Paper
October 26, 1984
By Otto M. Bonahoom,
This paper is about the contributions of the civilizations of the peoples of the "Fertile Crescent" to modern civilization.
The first question that ought to be answered is "where
is the 'Fertile Crescent?'" The "Fertile Crescent" is an area at
the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea in what is commonly
referred to as the Near East or the Middle East. The "Crescent"
has been variously described in literature and history, but the
description I am using is as follows: it starts at the Persian
Gulf and goes in a crescent-like shape through Iraq, Syria,
Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. At one end of the "Crescent"
is the Persian Gulf; the eastern curve touches the Mediterranean
Sea, and the other end is the Nile Valley. The starting point on
the Persian Gulf takes in the valleys of the Tigris River and the
Euphrates River, upon which the cities of Bagdad and Babylon were
situated and also takes in the cities of Tyre, Sidon, Biblos,
Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, Cairo, Memphis, and the Nile River
When I speak of the "Fertile Crescent," I am not
speaking here of nationalities — rather, of contributions of
civilizations. I am not attempting to designate that the
Lebanese, Israelies, Syrians, Phoenicians, Egyptians,
Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, or the Arabs gave us any
particular contribution; I am simply saying that these things
came from the region we now refer to as Arab-speaking countries.
Please remember that the diversity of nations, religions,
sub-religions, cultures, and sub-cultures in the "Fertile
Crescent" is almost endless.
You should also know that my ancestors were Lebanese
and Phoenician on my father's side and Syrian on my mother's
side. Some of what I will tell you today will come not from
library research but from family tradition. Although I did not
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