About The Site

Rivers from Eden is a website exploring the history and culture of the Ancient Near East. The audience is the interested general public, and the goal is to present the history of the Near East in an interesting and accessible fashion.

About the Author


This site’s title refers to the spread of ideas from their invention in the ancient Near East into the wider world. Calling the Near East the “Cradle of Civilization” is an over-used metaphor and not entirely accurate, because civilization developed independently in other regions, such as China, India and Mesoamerica. However, this site focuses on the Near East, and therefore its title was inspired by metaphors from that region in which rivers and springs give water, and therefore give life. The most well-known of these is the Biblical Garden of Eden.


This site takes a broad view the geographic and cultural region of the Near East, stretching from the edges of the Indus River Valley westwards to Mesopotamia, the Levant, Egypt, Nubia, Arabia, Anatolia, Crete and Carthage. The site also covers Near Eastern influences in other regions. Other early civilizations, such as China, India, Greece and Rome, may appear in this site as they come into contact with Near Eastern cultures.


This site begins with the beginning (to the best of our knowledge), 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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