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About The Site

I began this blog in 2011 under the name Rivers from Eden in order to improve my writing skills. I wrote about whatever I wanted so long as it was linked to the ancient world in some way, so many of the older articles here will be a lot more varied in their subject matter.

In 2014, this blog has been repurposed and hopefully will serve as a venue for public conversation about the ancient Near East. You will find posts about anything in the ancient Near East, but with a focus especially on Mesopotamia, and even more so on Assyria in the 1st millennium BC (since that’s where my research interests lie). The target audience is the interested public, although hopefully specialists will find it interesting as well.

This blog is an experiment. There are plenty of excellent archaeology blogs, and plenty of excellent biblioblogs, but there haven’t been many regularly updated blogs about Mesopotamia. The beauty of blogging is that anyone can try it and see where it takes them. So here we go.

About the Author

Title

What is a gate? It’s a hole in the wall. It’s also an entrypoint, a passage between worlds – between the crowded urban life of the city and the agrarian life of the countryside. Gates were also meeting places, where business was conducted, contracts witnessed, and judges sat.

In a way, this blog aims to be a gate into ancient Mesopotamia.

Scope and Scale

This blog is primarily about Mesopotamia, but also covers the entire geographic and cultural region of the Near East. Other ancient civilizations such as India, China, Greece and Rome may appear from time to time as they come into contact with Near Eastern cultures.

The time span covered here begins with the beginning, that is, with the first recovered human archaeological remains. Its end point is somewhat more difficult to define. In the West, the end of the ancient world is generally dated to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. However, the fall of the western Empire had little effect on the Near East, which had since 395 been politically independent of the western Empire. Therefore, the line dividing late antiquity from the Middle Ages for the near East is drawn not from events in the West but from the rise of Islam. If one can point to a single event as the date for the arrival of Islam as a political force, it would be the the Hijra, Muhammad’s flight from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. It is at this point, therefore, that the the time period covered by this site ends.

All Articles © Christopher Jones 2011-2014.

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