Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East, spanning modern-day Iraq together with the southeastern fringe of Turkey and the western fringes of Iran, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt. Some authors include Cyprus; the region has been called the "cradle of civilization" because it is where settled farming first emerged as people started the process of clearance and modification of natural vegetation in order to grow newly domesticated plants as crops. Early human civilizations such as Sumer flourished as a result. Technological advances in the region include the development of agriculture and the use of irrigation, of writing, the wheel, glass; the term "Fertile Crescent" was popularized by archaeologist James Henry Breasted in Outlines of European History and Ancient Times, A History of the Early World. Breasted wrote:This fertile crescent is a semicircle, with the open side toward the south, having the west end at the southeast corner of the Mediterranean, the center directly north of Arabia, the east end at the north end of the Persian Gulf.

It lies like an army facing south, with one wing stretching along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and the other reaching out to the Persian Gulf, while the center has its back against the northern mountains. The end of the western wing is Palestine; this great semicircle, for lack of a name, may be called the Fertile Crescent.1 It may be likened to the shores of a desert-bay, upon which the mountains behind look down—a bay not of water but of sandy waste, some eight hundred kilometres across, forming a northern extension of the Arabian desert and sweeping as far north as the latitude of the northeast corner of the Mediterranean. This desert-bay is a limestone plateau of some height—too high indeed to be watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, which have cut cañons obliquely across it. After the meager winter rains, wide tracts of the northern desert-bay are clothed with scanty grass, spring thus turns the region for a short time into grasslands; the history of Western Asia may be described as an age-long struggle between the mountain peoples of the north and the desert wanderers of these grasslands—a struggle, still going on—for the possession of the Fertile Crescent, the shores of the desert-bay.1 There is no name, either geographical or political, which includes all of this great semicircle.

Hence we are obliged to call it the Fertile Crescent. In current usage, the Fertile Crescent includes Israel, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as the surrounding portions of Turkey and Iran. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, riverwater sources include the Jordan River; the inner boundary is delimited by the dry climate of the Syrian Desert to the south. Around the outer boundary are the Anatolian and Armenian highlands to the north, the Sahara Desert to the west and the Iranian Plateau to the east; as crucial as rivers and marshlands were to the rise of civilization in the Fertile Crescent, they were not the only factor. The area is geographically important as the "bridge" between Africa and Eurasia, which has allowed it to retain a greater amount of biodiversity than either Europe or North Africa, where climate changes during the Ice Age led to repeated extinction events when ecosystems became squeezed against the waters of the Mediterranean Sea; the Saharan pump theory posits that this Middle Eastern land bridge was important to the modern distribution of Old World flora and fauna, including the spread of humanity.

The area has borne the brunt of the tectonic divergence between the African and Arabian plates and the converging Arabian and Eurasian plates, which has made the region a diverse zone of high snow-covered mountains. The Fertile Crescent had many diverse climates, major climatic changes encouraged the evolution of many "r" type annual plants, which produce more edible seeds than "K" type perennial plants; the region's dramatic variety in elevation gave rise to many species of edible plants for early experiments in cultivation. Most the Fertile Crescent was home to the eight Neolithic founder crops important in early agriculture, four of the five most important species of domesticated animals—cows, goats and pigs; the Fertile Crescent flora comprises a high percentage of plants that can self-pollinate, but may be cross-pollinated. These plants, called "selfers", were one of the geographical advantages of the area because they did not depend on other plants for reproduction; as well as possessing many sites with the skeletal and cultural remains of both pre-modern and early modern humans Pleistocene hunter-gatherers, Epipalaeolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers.

The western zone around the Jordan and upper Euphrates rivers gave rise to the first known Neolithic farming settlements, which date to around 9,000 BCE and includes ancient sites such as Göbekli Tepe and Jericho. This region, alongside Mesopotamia saw the emergence of early complex societies during the succeeding Bronze Age. There is early evidence from the region for writing and the formation of hierarchical state level societies; this has earned the region the nickname "The cr


Isaac is one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites and is an important figure in the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism and Islam. He was the son of Abraham and Sarah, the father of Jacob, the grandfather of the twelve tribes of Israel. Isaac's name means "he will laugh", reflecting the laughter, in disbelief, of Abraham and Sarah, when told by God that they would have a child, he is the only patriarch whose name was not changed, the only one who did not move out of Canaan. According to the narrative, he died the longest-lived of the three patriarchs; the anglicized name Isaac is a transliteration of the Hebrew term Yiṣḥāq which means "He laughs/will laugh." Ugaritic texts dating from the 13th century BCE refer to the benevolent smile of the Canaanite deity El. Genesis, ascribes the laughter to Isaac's parents and Sarah, rather than El. According to the biblical narrative, Abraham fell on his face and laughed when God imparted the news of their son's eventual birth, he laughed. When Sarah overheard three messengers of the Lord renew the promise, she laughed inwardly for the same reason.

Sarah denied laughing. In Amos, Isaac is spelled not with a צ but with a ש - Amos 7:9 ישחק, it was prophesied to the patriarch Abraham that he would have a son and that his name should be Isaac. When Abraham became one hundred years old, this son was born to him by his first wife Sarah. Though this was Abraham's second son it was Sarah's only child. On the eighth day from his birth, Isaac was circumcised, as was necessary for all males of Abraham's household, in order to be in compliance with Yahweh's covenant. After Isaac had been weaned, Sarah saw Ishmael mocking, urged her husband to cast out Hagar the bondservant and her son, so that Isaac would be Abraham's sole heir. Abraham was hesitant. At some point in Isaac's youth, his father Abraham took him to Mount Moriah. At God's command, Abraham was to sacrifice his son Isaac upon it. After he had bound his son to the altar and drawn his knife to kill him, at the last moment an angel of God prevented Abraham from proceeding. Instead, he was directed to sacrifice a nearby ram, stuck in thickets.

Before Isaac was 40 Abraham sent Eliezer, his steward, into Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac, from his nephew Bethuel's family. Eliezer chose the Aramean Rebekah for Isaac. After many years of marriage to Isaac, Rebekah had still not given birth to a child and was believed to be barren. Isaac prayed for she conceived. Rebekah gave birth to twin boys and Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old. Isaac favored Esau, Rebekah favored Jacob; the narratives about Isaac do not mention him having concubines. Isaac moved to Beer-lahai-roi; when the land experienced famine, he removed to the Philistine land of Gerar where his father once lived. This land was still under the control of King Abimelech. Like his father, Isaac deceived Abimelech about his wife and got into the well business, he had gone back to all of the wells that his father dug and saw that they were all stopped up with earth. The Philistines did this. So, Isaac unearthed them and began to dig for more wells all the way to Beersheba, where he made a pact with Abimelech, just like in the day of his father.

Isaac became blind. He called his son Esau and directed him to procure some venison for him, in order to receive Isaac's blessing. While Esau was hunting, after listening to his mother's advice, deceived his blind father by misrepresenting himself as Esau and thereby obtained his father's blessing, such that Jacob became Isaac's primary heir and Esau was left in an inferior position. According to Genesis 25:29–34, Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob for "bread and stew of lentils". Thereafter, Isaac sent Jacob into Mesopotamia to take a wife of his mother's brother's house. After 20 years working for his uncle Laban, Jacob returned home, he reconciled with his twin brother Esau he and Esau buried their father, Isaac, in Hebron after he died at the age of 180. According to local tradition, the graves of Isaac and Rebekah, along with the graves of Abraham and Sarah and Jacob and Leah, are in the Cave of the Patriarchs. In rabbinical tradition, the age of Isaac at the time of binding is taken to be 37, which contrasts with common portrayals of Isaac as a child.

The rabbis thought that the reason for the death of Sarah was the news of the intended sacrifice of Isaac. The sacrifice of Isaac is cited in appeals for the mercy of God in Jewish traditions; the post-biblical Jewish interpretations elaborate the role of Isaac beyond the biblical description and focus on Abraham's intended sacrifice of Isaac, called the aqedah. According to a version of these interpretations, Isaac was revived. According to many accounts of Aggadah, unlike the Bible, it is Satan, testing Isaac as an agent of God. Isaac's willingness to follow God's command at the cost of his death has been a model for many Jews who preferred martyrdom to violation of the Jewish law. According to the Jewish tradition, Isaac instituted the afternoon prayer; this tradition is based on Genesis chapter 24, verse 63. Isaac was the only patriarch who stayed in Canaan during his whole life and though once he tried to leave, God told him not to do so. Rabbinic tradition gave the explanation that Isaac was sacrificed and anyth

2007 NRW Trophy

The 2007 NRW Trophy was the NRW Trophy of the 2007-2008 figure skating season. The NRW Trophy is an annual figure skating competition organized by the Skating Union of North Rhine-Westphalia. Since 2007, it has been sanctioned by the Deutsche Eislauf Union and the International Skating Union. Figure skaters competed in the disciplines of men's singles, ladies singles and ice dancing across the levels of Senior and Novice and a novie pairs competition as well. In addition, the ice dancing competition included a Pre-Novice division; the 2007 NRW Trophy was held in two parts, with ice dancers competing separately from the singles disciplines and pair skating. Both competitions were held in the Eissportzentrum Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany The ice dancing competition was held between November 2 and November 4, 2007, the other disciplines were held between November 30 and December 2, 2007. WD = Withdrawn 2007 NRW Trophy for Figure Skating 2007 NRW Trophy for Ice Dancing