Iraq the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Assyrians, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandeans and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan and Mandeanism present; the official languages of Iraq are Kurdish. Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf; these rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers known as Mesopotamia, is referred to as the cradle of civilisation.
It was here that mankind first began to read, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian and Babylonian empires, it was part of the Median, Hellenistic, Sassanid, Rashidun, Abbasid, Mongol, Safavid and Ottoman empires. The country today known as Iraq was a region of the Ottoman Empire until the partition of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century, it was made up of three provinces, called vilayets in the Ottoman language: Mosul Vilayet, Baghdad Vilayet, Basra Vilayet. In April 1920 the British Mandate of Mesopotamia was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy joining these vilayets into one Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq; the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created.
Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005; the US presence in Iraq ended in 2011, but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War spilled into the country. Out of the insurgency came a destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west, it has since been defeated. Disputes over the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan continue. A referendum about the full sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017. On 9 December 2017, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL after the group lost its territory in Iraq. Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of one autonomous region; the country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in both pre-Islamic as well as post-Islamic times and is known for its poets.
Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF; the Arabic name العراق al-ʿIrāq has been in use since before the 6th century. There are several suggested origins for the name. One dates to the Sumerian city of Uruk and is thus of Sumerian origin, as Uruk was the Akkadian name for the Sumerian city of Urug, containing the Sumerian word for "city", UR. An Arabic folk etymology for the name is "well-watered. During the medieval period, there was a region called ʿIrāq ʿArabī for Lower Mesopotamia and ʿIrāq ʿAjamī, for the region now situated in Central and Western Iran; the term included the plain south of the Hamrin Mountains and did not include the northernmost and westernmost parts of the modern territory of Iraq. Prior to the middle of the 19th century, the term Eyraca Arabic was used to describe Iraq.
The term Sawad was used in early Islamic times for the region of the alluvial plain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contrasting it with the arid Arabian desert. As an Arabic word, عراق means "hem", "shore", "bank", or "edge", so that the name by folk etymology came to be interpreted as "the escarpment", viz. at the south and east of the Jazira Plateau, which forms the northern and western edge of the "al-Iraq arabi" area. The Arabic pronunciation is. In English, it is either or, the American Heritage Dictionary, the Random House Dictionary; the pronunciation is heard in US media. In accordance with the 2005 Constitution, the official name of the state is the "Republic of Iraq". Between 65,000 BC and 35,000 BC northern Iraq was home to a Neanderthal culture, archaeological remains of which have been discovered at Shanidar Cave This same region is the location of a number of pre-Neolithic cemeteries, dating from 11,000 BC. Since 10,000 BC, Iraq was one of centres of a Caucasoid Neolithic culture (k
Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC, it is arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt and Arabia to Greece and Europe; the second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great. The third covers the period to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning ` library', acknowledges. According to his own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily. With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about his life and doings beyond in his work. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the "year of Abraham 1968", writes, "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious". However, his English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the "striking coincidence" that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium is the tombstone of one "Diodorus, the son of Apollonius".
Diodorus' universal history, which he named Bibliotheca historica, was immense and consisted of 40 books, of which 1–5 and 11–20 survive: fragments of the lost books are preserved in Photius and the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. It was divided into three sections; the first six books treated the mythic history of the non-Hellenic and Hellenic tribes to the destruction of Troy and are geographical in theme, describe the history and culture of Ancient Egypt, of Mesopotamia, India and Arabia, of North Africa, of Greece and Europe. In the next section, he recounts the history of the world from the Trojan War down to the death of Alexander the Great; the last section concerns the historical events from the successors of Alexander down to either 60 BC or the beginning of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. He selected the name "Bibliotheca" in acknowledgment that he was assembling a composite work from many sources. Identified authors on whose works he drew include Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Philistus, Timaeus and Posidonius.
His account of gold mining in Nubia in eastern Egypt is one of the earliest extant texts on the topic, describes in vivid detail the use of slave labour in terrible working conditions. He gave an account of the Gauls: "The Gauls are terrifying in aspect and their voices are deep and altogether harsh, they are boasters and threateners and are fond of pompous language, yet they have sharp wits and are not without cleverness at learning." Pliny the Elder Strabo Acadine Ambaglio, Franca Landucci Gattinoni and Luigi Bravi. Diodoro Siculo: Biblioteca storica: commento storico: introduzione generale. Storia. Ricerche. Milano: V&P, 2008. X, 145 p. Buckley, Terry. Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC: A Source-based Approach. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09958-7. Lloyd, Alan B.. Herodotus, Book II. Leiden: Brill. Pp. Introduction. ISBN 90-04-04179-6. Siculus, Diodorus. H.. Library of History: Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Siculus, Diodorus. Rhodomannus; the Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books to which are added the Fragments of Diodorus.
London: J. Davis. Downloadable via Google Books. Siculi, Diodori. Bibliothecae Historicae Libri Qui Supersunt: Nova Editio. Argentorati: Societas Bipontina. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Downloadable via Google Books. Clarke, Katherine. 1999. "Universal perspectives in Historiography." In The Limits of Historiography: Genre and Narrative in Ancient Historical Texts. Edited by Christina Shuttleworth Kraus, 249–279. Mnemosyne. Supplementum 191. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. Hammond, Nicholas G. L. 1998. "Portents and Dreams in Diodorus’ Books 14–17." Greek and Byzantine Studies 39.4: 407–428. McQueen, Earl I. 1995. Diodorus Siculus; the Reign of Philip II: The Greek and Macedonian Narrative from Book XVI. A Companion. London: Bristol Classical Press. Muntz, Charles E. 2017. Diodorus Siculus and the World of the Late Roman Republic. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. Pfuntner, Laura. 2015. "Reading Diodorus through Photius: The Case of the Sicilian Slave Revolts." Greek and Byzantine Studies 55.1: 256–272. Rubincam, Catherine.
1987. "The Organization and Composition of Diodorus’ Bibliotheke." Échos du monde classique 31:313–328. Sacks, Kenneth S. 1990. Diodorus Siculus and the First Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. Sinclair, Robert K. 1963. "Diodorus Siculus and the Writing of History." Proceedings of the African Classical Association 6:36–45. Stronk, Jan P. 2017. Semiramis’ Legacy; the History of Persia According to Diodorus of Sicily. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press. Sulimani, Iris. 2008. "Diodorus’ Source-Citations: A Turn in the Attitu
The Lydians were an Anatolian people living in Lydia, a region in western Anatolia, who spoke the distinctive Lydian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian group. Questions raised regarding their origins, as defined by the language and reaching well into the 2nd millennium BC, continue to be debated by language historians and archeologists. A distinct Lydian culture lasted, in all probability, until at least shortly before the Common Era, having been attested the last time among extant records by Strabo in Kibyra in south-west Anatolia around his time; the Lydian capital was at Sardis. Their recorded history of statehood, which covers three dynasties traceable to the Late Bronze Age, reached the height of its power and achievements during the 7th and 6th centuries BC, a time which coincided with the demise of the power of neighboring Phrygia, which lay to the north-east of Lydia. Lydian power came to an abrupt end with the fall of their capital in events subsequent to the Battle of Halys in 585 BC and defeat by Cyrus the Great in 546 BC.
Material in the way of historical accounts of themselves found to date is scarce. The Homeric name for the Lydians was Μαίονες, cited among the allies of the Trojans during the Trojan War, from this name "Maeonia" and "Maeonians" derive and while these Bronze Age terms have sometimes been used as alternatives for Lydia and the Lydians, nuances have been brought between them; the first attestation of Lydians under such a name occurs in Neo-Assyrian sources. The annals of Assurbanipal refer to the embassy of Gugu, king of Luddi, to be identified with Gyges, king of the Lydians, it seems that the term Lydians came to be used with reference to the inhabitants of Sardis and its vicinity only with the rise of the Mermnad dynasty. Herodotus states that the Lydians "were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency". While this refers to coinage in electrum, some numismatists think that coinage per se arose in Lydia. According to Herodotus, once a Lydian girl reached maturity, she would ply the trade of prostitute until she had earned a sufficient dowry, upon which she would publicize her availability for marriage.
This was the general practice for girls not born into nobility. He attributes the Lydians with inventing a variety of ancient games, notably knucklebones, claiming the games' rise in popularity to be during a severe drought, where the games afforded the Lydians a psychological reprieve from their troubles. Lydian texts discovered to date are not numerous and short, but close liaisons maintained between leading scholars of Anatolian linguistics enables constant impetus and progress in the field, new epigraphical findings, evidence being added and new words being recorded continuously. A real breakthrough for the understanding of the Lydian language has not occurred yet. Presently available texts begin around the mid-7th century and extend until the 2nd century BC, which leads one scholar to conclude, "Lydians wrote early, but they did not write much." A number of Lydian religious concepts may well go back to the Early Bronze Age and Late Stone Age, such as the vegetation goddess Kore, the snake and bull cult, the thunder and rain god and the double-axe as a sign of thunder, the mountain mother goddess assisted by lions, associable or not to the more debated Kuvava.
A difficulty in compounding Lydian religion and mythology remains as reciprocal contacts and transfer with ancient Greek concepts occurred for over a millennium from the Bronze Age to classical times. As pointed out by archaeological explorers of Lydia and Pldans have strong Anatolian components and Cybele-Rhea, the Mother of Gods, Baki went from Anatolia to Greece, while both in Lydia and Caria, Levs preserved strong local characteristics all at the same sharing the name of its Greek equivalent. Among other divine figures of the Lydian pantheon which still remain obscure, Kuvava's escort and sometimes a hero burned on a pyre, Marivda, associated with darkness, may be cited. Niobe, daughter of Tantalus and Dione and sister of Pelops and Broteas, had known Arachne, a Lydian woman, when she was still in Lydia/Maeonia in her father's lands near to Mount Sipylus, according to Ovid's account; these eponymous figures may have corresponded to the obscure ages associated with the semi-legendary dynasty of the Atyads and/or Tantalids, situated around the time of the emergence of a Lydian nation from their predecessors and/or previous identities as Maeonians and Luvians.
Several accounts on the dynasty of Tylonids succeeding the Atyads and/or Tantalids are available and once into the last Lydian dynasty of Mermnads, the legendary accounts surrounding Ring of Gyges, Gyges's enthronement to the Lydian throne and foundation of the new dynasty, by replacing the King Kandaules, the last of the Taylanids, this in alliance with Kandaules's wife who became his queen, are Lydian stories in the full sense of the term, as recounted by Herodotus, who himself may have borrowed his passages from Xanthus of Lydia, a Lydian who had written a history of his country earlier in the same century. Several expressions on Lydians were in common use in ancient Greek and in Latin languages, a collection and detailed treatment of these were done by Erasmus in his Adagia. There are several works of visual arts depicting Lydians and/or using as theme subject matters of Lydian histor
The Neo-Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. A year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, in 627 BC, the Assyrian empire spiralled into a series of brutal civil wars. Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar. In alliance with the Medes, Persians and Cimmerians, they sacked the city of Nineveh in 612 BC, the seat of empire was transferred to Babylonia for the first time since the death of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC; this period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science. The Neo-Babylonian period ended with the reign of Chaldean king Nabonidus in 539 BC. To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, Cyrus the Great conquered the empire. Babylonia was subject to and dominated by Assyria during the Neo-Assyrian period, as it had been during the Middle Assyrian Empire.
The Assyrians of Upper Mesopotamia had been able to pacify their southern relations through military might, installing puppet kings, or granting increased privileges. After Babylonia regained its independence, Neo-Babylonian rulers were conscious of the antiquity of their kingdom and pursued an archtraditionalist policy, reviving much of the ancient Sumero-Akkadian culture. Though Aramaic had become the everyday tongue, Akkadian was retained as the language of administration and culture. Archaic expressions from 1500 years earlier were reintroduced in Akkadian inscriptions, along with words in the long-unspoken Sumerian language. Neo-Babylonian cuneiform script was modified to make it look like the old 3rd-millennium BC script of Akkad. Ancient artworks from the heyday of Babylonia's imperial glory were treated with near-religious reverence and were painstakingly preserved. For example, when a statue of Sargon the Great was found during construction work, a temple was built for it, it was given offerings.
The story is told of how Nebuchadnezzar II, in his efforts to restore the Temple at Sippar, had to make repeated excavations until he found the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin of Akkad. The discovery allowed him to rebuild the temple properly. Neo-Babylonians revived the ancient Sargonid practice of appointing a royal daughter to serve as priestess of the moon-god Sîn. Much more is known about Mesopotamian culture and economic life under the Neo-Babylonians than about the structure and mechanics of imperial administration, it is clear. Large tracts of land were opened to cultivation. Peace and imperial power made resources available to expand the irrigation systems and to build an extensive canal system; the Babylonian countryside was dominated by large estates, which were given to government officials as a form of pay. The estates were managed by local entrepreneurs, who took a cut of the profits. Rural folk rents to their landowners. Urban life flourished under the Neo-Babylonians. Cities received special privileges from the kings.
Centered on their temples, the cities had their own law courts, cases were decided in assemblies. Temples dominated urban social structure, just as they did the legal system, a person's social status and political rights were determined by where they stood in relation to the religious hierarchy. Free laborers like craftsmen enjoyed high status and a sort of guild system came into existence, which gave them collective bargaining power; the period witnessed a general improvement in economic life, agricultural production, a significant increase in architectural projects, the arts and science. Dynasty XI of Babylon Nabu-apla-usur 626–605 BC Nabu-kudurri-usur II 605–562 BC Amel-Marduk 562–560 BC Neriglissar 560–556 BC Labaši- Marduk 556 BC Nabonidus 556–539 BC After the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the Assyrian Empire began to disintegrate, riven by internal strife. Ashur-etil-ilani co-ruled with Ashurbanipal from 630 BC, while an Assyrian governor named Kandalanu sat on the throne of Babylon on behalf of his king.
Babylonia seemed secure until both Ashurbanipal and Kandalanu died in 627 BC, Assyria spiralled into a series of internal civil wars which would lead to its destruction. An Assyrian general, Sin-shumu-lishir, revolted in 626 BC and declared himself king of Assyria and Babylon, but was promptly ousted by the Assyrian Army loyal to king Ashur-etil-ilani in 625 BC. Babylon was taken by another son of Ashurbanipal Sin-shar-ishkun, who proclaimed himself king, his rule did not last long and the Babylonians revolted. Nabopolassar seized the throne amid the confusion, the Neo-Babylonian dynasty was born. Babylonia as a whole became a battleground between king Ashur-etil-ilani and his brother Sin-shar-ishkun who fought to and fro over the region; this anarchic situation allowed Nabopolassar to stay on the throne of the city of Babylon itself, spending the next three years undisturbed, consolidating his position in the city. However, in 623 BC, Sin-shar-ishkun killed his brother the king in battle at Nippur in Babylonia, seized the throne of Assyria, set about retaking Babylon from Nabopolassar.
Nabopolassar was forced to endure Assyrian armies encamped in Babylonia over the next seven years. However, he resisted, aided by the continuing civil war in Assyria itself, which hampered Sin-shar-ishkun's attempts to retake the parts of Babylonia held by Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar took Nippur i
The Behistun Inscription is a multilingual inscription and large rock relief on a cliff at Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran, established by Darius the Great. It was crucial to the decipherment of cuneiform script as the inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian and Babylonian; the inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a lost script. The inscription is 15 metres high by 25 metres wide and 100 metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media; the Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him; the supine figure is reputed to be the pretender Gaumata.
Darius is attended to the left by two servants, nine one-meter figures stand to the right, with hands tied and rope around their necks, representing conquered peoples. A Faravahar floats above. One figure appears to have been added after the others were completed, as was Darius's beard, a separate block of stone attached with iron pins and lead. After the fall of the Persian Empire's Achaemenid Dynasty and its successors, the lapse of Old Persian cuneiform writing into disuse, the nature of the inscription was forgotten, fanciful explanations became the norm. For centuries, instead of being attributed to Darius the Great, it was believed to be from the reign of Khosrau II of Persia—one of the last Sassanid kings, who lived over 1000 years after the time of Darius the Great; the inscription is mentioned by Ctesias of Cnidus, who noted its existence some time around 400 BC and mentioned a well and a garden beneath the inscription. He incorrectly concluded that the inscription had been dedicated "by Queen Semiramis of Babylon to Zeus".
Tacitus mentions it and includes a description of some of the long-lost ancillary monuments at the base of the cliff, including an altar to "Herakles". What has been recovered of them, including a statue dedicated in 148 BC, is consistent with Tacitus's description. Diodorus writes of "Bagistanon" and claims it was inscribed by Semiramis. A legend began around Mount Behistun, as written about by the Persian poet and writer Ferdowsi in his Shahnameh c. 1000, about a man named Farhad, a lover of King Khosrow's wife, Shirin. The legend states that, exiled for his transgression, Farhad was given the task of cutting away the mountain to find water. After many years and the removal of half the mountain, he did find water, but was informed by Khosrow that Shirin had died, he threw his axe down the hill, kissed the ground and died. It is told in the book of Khosrow and Shirin that his axe was made out of a pomegranate tree, where he threw the axe, a pomegranate tree grew with fruit that would cure the ill.
Shirin was not dead, according to the story, mourned upon hearing the news. In 1598, the Englishman Robert Sherley saw the inscription during a diplomatic mission to Persia on behalf of Austria, brought it to the attention of Western European scholars, his party incorrectly came to the conclusion. French General Gardanne thought it showed "Christ and his twelve apostles", Sir Robert Ker Porter thought it represented the Lost Tribes of Israel and Shalmaneser of Assyria. Italian explorer Pietro della Valle visited the inscription in the course of a pilgrimage in around 1621. German surveyor Carsten Niebuhr visited in around 1764 for Frederick V of Denmark, publishing a copy of the inscription in the account of his journeys in 1778. Niebuhr's transcriptions were used by Georg Friedrich Grotefend and others in their efforts to decipher the Old Persian cuneiform script. Grotefend had deciphered ten of the 37 symbols of Old Persian by 1802, after realizing that unlike the Semitic cuneiform scripts, Old Persian text is alphabetic and each word is separated by a vertical slanted symbol.
The Old Persian text was copied and deciphered before recovery and copying of the Elamite and Babylonian inscriptions had been attempted, which proved to be a good deciphering strategy, since Old Persian script was easier to study due to its alphabetic nature and because the language it represents had evolved via Middle Persian to the living modern Persian language dialects, was related to the Avestan language, used in the Zoroastrian book the Avesta. In 1835, Sir Henry Rawlinson, an officer of the British East India Company army assigned to the forces of the Shah of Iran, began studying the inscription in earnest; as the town of Bisotun's name was anglicized as "Behistun" at this time, the monument became known as the "Behistun Inscription". Despite its relative inaccessibility, Rawlinson was able to scale the cliff with the help of a local boy and copy the Old Persian inscription; the Elamite was across a chasm, the Babylonian four meters above. With the Persian text, with about a third of the syllabary made available to him by the work of Georg Friedrich Grotefend, Rawlinson set to work on deciphering the text.
The first section of this text contained a list of the same Pe
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian, born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, he is considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and critically arranging them into an historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero. Despite Herodotus's historical significance, little is known about his personal life, his Histories deals with the lives of Croesus, Cambyses, Smerdis and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Artemisium, Salamis and Mycale. Herodotus has been criticized for the fact that his book includes a large number of obvious legends and fanciful accounts. Many authors, starting with the late fifth-century BC historian Thucydides, have accused him of making up stories for entertainment.
Herodotus, states that he is reporting what he has been told. A sizable portion of the information he provides has since been confirmed by historians and archaeologists. Herodotus announced the purpose and scope of his work at the beginning of his Histories as such: Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus; the purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks. His record of the achievements of others was an achievement in itself, though the extent of it has been debated. Herodotus's place in history and his significance may be understood according to the traditions within which he worked, his work is the earliest Greek prose. However, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a literary critic of Augustan Rome, listed seven predecessors of Herodotus, describing their works as simple, unadorned accounts of their own and other cities and people, Greek or foreign, including popular legends, sometimes melodramatic and naïve charming – all traits that can be found in the work of Herodotus himself.
Modern historians regard the chronology as uncertain, but according to the ancient account, these predecessors included Dionysius of Miletus, Charon of Lampsacus, Hellanicus of Lesbos, Xanthus of Lydia and, the best attested of them all, Hecataeus of Miletus. Of these, only fragments of Hecataeus's works survived, the authenticity of these is debatable, but they provide a glimpse into the kind of tradition within which Herodotus wrote his own Histories. In his introduction to Hecataeus's work, Genealogies: Hecataeus the Milesian speaks thus: I write these things as they seem true to me; this points forward to the "international" outlook typical of Herodotus. However, one modern scholar has described the work of Hecataeus as "a curious false start to history", since despite his critical spirit, he failed to liberate history from myth. Herodotus mentions Hecataeus in his Histories, on one occasion mocking him for his naive genealogy and, on another occasion, quoting Athenian complaints against his handling of their national history.
It is possible that Herodotus borrowed much material from Hecataeus, as stated by Porphyry in a quote recorded by Eusebius. In particular, it is possible that he copied descriptions of the crocodile and phoenix from Hecataeus's Circumnavigation of the Known World misrepresenting the source as "Heliopolitans", but Hecataeus did not record events that had occurred in living memory, unlike Herodotus, nor did he include the oral traditions of Greek history within the larger framework of oriental history. There is no proof that Herodotus derived the ambitious scope of his own work, with its grand theme of civilizations in conflict, from any predecessor, despite much scholarly speculation about this in modern times. Herodotus claims to be better informed than his predecessors by relying on empirical observation to correct their excessive schematism. For example, he argues for continental asymmetry as opposed to the older theory of a circular earth with Europe and Asia/Africa equal in size. However, he retains idealizing tendencies, as in his symmetrical notions of the Nile.
His debt to previous authors of prose "histories" might be questionable, but there is no doubt that Herodotus owed much to the example and inspiration of poets and story-tellers. For example, Athenian tragic poets provided him with a world-view of a balance between conflicting forces, upset by the hubris of kings, they provided his narrative with a model of episodic structure, his familiarity with Athenian tragedy is demonstrated in a number of passages echoing Aeschylus's Persae, including the epigrammatic observation that the defeat of the Persian navy at Salamis caused the defeat of the land army. The debt may have been repaid by Sophocles because there appear to be echoes of The Histories in his plays a passage in Antigone that resembles Herodotus's account of the death of Intaphernes. However, this point is one of the most contentious
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late