Elam was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam, along with the Akkadian elamtu, the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature Elam was known as Susiana, a name derived from its capital Susa. Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period; the emergence of written records from around 3000 BC parallels Sumerian history, where earlier records have been found. In the Old Elamite period, Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands, its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use.
Elamite is considered a language isolate unrelated to the much arriving Persian and Iranic languages. In accordance with geographical and archaeological matches, some historians argue that the Elamites comprise a large portion of the ancestors of the modern day Lurs, whose language, split from Middle Persian; the Elamite language endonym of Elam as a country appears to have been Haltamti. Exonyms included the Sumerian names NIM. MAki and ELAM, the Akkadian Elamû and Elamītu meant "resident of Susiana, Elamite". In prehistory, Elam was centered in modern Khuzestān and Ilam; the name Khuzestān is derived from the Old Persian Hūjiya meaning Susa/Elam. In Middle Persian this became Huź "Susiana", in modern Persian Xuz, compounded with the toponymic suffix -stån "place". In geographical terms, Susiana represents the Iranian province of Khuzestan around the river Karun. In ancient times, several names were used to describe this area; the great ancient geographer Ptolemy was the earliest to call the area Susiana, referring to the country around Susa.
Another ancient geographer, viewed Elam and Susiana as two different geographical regions. He referred to Elam as the highland area of Khuzestan. Disagreements over the location exist in the Jewish historical sources says Daniel T. Potts; some ancient sources draw a distinction between Elam as the highland area of Khuzestan, Susiana as the lowland area. Yet in other ancient sources'Elam' and'Susiana' seem equivalent; the uncertainty in this area extends to modern scholarship. Since the discovery of ancient Anshan, the realization of its great importance in Elamite history, the definitions were changed again; some modern scholars argued that the centre of Elam lay at Anshan and in the highlands around it, not at Susa in lowland Khuzistan. Potts disagrees suggesting that the term'Elam' was constructed by the Mesopotamians to describe the area in general terms, without referring either to the lowlanders or the highlanders, "Elam is not an Iranian term and has no relationship to the conception which the peoples of highland Iran had of themselves.
They were Anshanites, Shimashkians, Sherihumians, etc. That Anshan played a leading role in the political affairs of the various highland groups inhabiting southwestern Iran is clear, but to argue that Anshan is coterminous with Elam is to misunderstand the artificiality and indeed the alienness of Elam as a construct imposed from without on the peoples of the southwestern highlands of the Zagros mountain range, the coast of Fars and the alluvial plain drained by the Karun-Karkheh river system. Knowledge of Elamite history remains fragmentary, reconstruction being based on Mesopotamian sources; the history of Elam is conventionally divided into three periods. The period before the first Elamite period is known as the proto-Elamite period: Proto-Elamite: c. 3200 – c. 2700 BC Old Elamite period: c. 2700 – c. 1500 BC Middle Elamite period: c. 1500 – c. 1100 BC Neo-Elamite period: c. 1100 – 540 BC Proto-Elamite civilization grew up east of the Tigris and Euphrates alluvial plains. At least three proto-Elamite states merged to form Elam: Anshan and Shimashki.
References to Awan are older than those to Anshan, some scholars suggest that both states encompassed the same territory, in different eras. To this core Shushiana was broken off. In addition, some Proto-Elamite sites are found well outside this area, spread out on the Iranian plateau; the state of Elam was formed from these lesser states as a response to invasion from Sumer during the Old Elamite period. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold these various areas together under a coordinated government that permitted the maximum interchange of the natural resources unique to each region. Traditionally, thi
Dilmun, or Telmun, was an ancient Semitic-speaking polity in Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on textual evidence, it was located in the Persian Gulf, on a trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilisation, close to the sea and to artesian springs. A number of scholars have suggested that Dilmun designated the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, notably linked with the major Dilmunite settlements of Umm an-Nussi and Umm ar-Ramadh in the interior and Tarout on the coast. Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Kuwait and the eastern portion regions of Saudi Arabia; this area is what is meant by references to "Dilmun" among the lands conquered by King Sargon of Akkad and his descendants. The great commercial and trading connections between Mesopotamia and Dilmun were strong and profound to the point where Dilmun was a central figure to the Sumerian creation myth. Dilmun was described in the saga of Enki and Ninhursag as pre-existing in paradisiacal state, where predators don't kill and diseases are absent, people don't get old.
Dilmun was an important trading centre. At the height of its power, it controlled the Persian Gulf trading routes. According to some modern theories, the Sumerians regarded Dilmun as a sacred place, but, never stated in any known ancient text. Dilmun was mentioned by the Mesopotamians as a trade partner, a source of copper, a trade entrepôt; the Sumerian tale of the garden paradise of Dilmun may have been an inspiration for the Garden of Eden story. Dilmun was an important trading center from the late fourth millennium to 800 BC. At the height of its power, Dilmun controlled the Persian Gulf trading routes. Dilmun was prosperous during the first 300 years of the second millennium. Dilmun's commercial power began to decline between 1000 BC and 800 BC because piracy flourished in the Persian Gulf. In 600 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, ruled Dilmun; the Dilmun civilization was the centre of commercial activities linking traditional agriculture of the land—then utterly fertile due to artesian wells that have dried since, due to a much wetter climate—with maritime trade between diverse regions such as the Meluhha and Mesopotamia.
The Dilmun civilization is mentioned first in Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the late third millennium BC, found in the temple of goddess Inanna, in the city of Uruk. The adjective Dilmun is used to describe a type of one specific official. One of the earliest inscriptions mentioning Dilmun is that of king Ur-Nanshe of Lagash found in a door-socket: "The ships of Dilmun brought him wood as tribute from foreign lands."From about 1700 BC come three inscriptions on stone vessels naming two kings of Dilmun. King Yagli-El and his father Rimum; the inscriptions were found in huge tumuli evidently the burial places of these kings. Rimum was known to archaeology from the Durand Stone, discovered in 1879. Dilmun was mentioned in two letters dated to the reign of Burna-Buriash II recovered from Nippur, during the Kassite dynasty of Babylon; these letters were from a provincial official, Ilī-ippašra, in Dilmun to his friend Enlil-kidinni, the governor of Nippur. The names referred to are Akkadian.
These letters and other documents, hint at an administrative relationship between Dilmun and Babylon at that time. Following the collapse of the Kassite dynasty, Mesopotamian documents make no mention of Dilmun with the exception of Assyrian inscriptions dated to 1250 BC which proclaimed the Assyrian king to be king of Dilmun and Meluhha, as well as Lower Sea and Upper Sea. Assyrian inscriptions recorded tribute from Dilmun. There are other Assyrian inscriptions during the first millennium BC indicating Assyrian sovereignty over Dilmun. One of the early sites discovered in Bahrain suggests that Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacked northeast Arabia and captured the Bahraini islands; the most recent reference to Dilmun came during the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Neo-Babylonian administrative records, dated 567 BC, stated that Dilmun was controlled by the king of Babylon; the name of Dilmun fell from use after the collapse of Babylon in 538 BC. The "Persian Gulf" types of circular, stamped seals known from Dilmun, that appear at Lothal in Gujarat and Failaka, as well as in Mesopotamia, are convincing corroboration of the long-distance sea trade.
What the commerce consisted of is less known: timber and precious woods, lapis lazuli and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from the Persian Gulf and bone inlays, were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, woolen textiles, olive oil and grains. Copper ingots from Oman and bitumen which occurred in Mesopotamia may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and domestic fowl, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia. Instances of all of these trade goods have been found; the importance of this trade is shown by the fact that the weights and measures used at Dilmun were in fact identical to those used by the Indus, were not those used in Southern Mesopotamia. In regard to copper mining and smelting, the Umm al-Nar Culture and Dalma in the United Arab Emirates, Ibri in Oman were important; some Meluhhan vessels may have sailed directly to Mesopotamian ports, but by the Isin-Larsa Period, Dilmun monopolized the trade. The Bahrain National Museum assesses.
2200–1600 BC. Discoveries of ruins under the Persian Gulf may be of Dilmun; the population was Semitic with an Amorite pr
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, became the largest empire of the world up until that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in empires, was, according to many historians, the first real empire in history; the Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics. Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the known world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Persia, Lydia, the Medes, Cimmerians, Judah, Chaldea, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, Egypt; the Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire, the Middle Assyrian Empire of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was made an official language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.
Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares king of the Medes and Persians made alliances with Nabopolassar ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria ceased to exist as an independent state. A failed attempt to reconquer Harran ended the Assyrian Empire. Although the empire fell, Assyrian history continued. Assyria was an Akkadian kingdom which evolved in the 25th to 24th centuries BC; the earliest Assyrian kings such as Tudiya were minor rulers, after the founding of the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from 2334 BC to 2154 BC, these kings became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under one rule. The urbanised Akkadian-speaking nation of Assyria emerged in the mid 21st century BC, evolving from the dissolution of the Akkadian Empire.
In the Old Assyrian period of the Early Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia, competing for dominance with the Hattians and Hurrians of Asia Minor, the ancient Sumero-Akkadian "city states" such as Isin, Ur and Larsa, with Babylonia, founded by Amorites in 1894 BC, under Kassite rule. During the 20th century BC, it established colonies in Asia Minor, under the 20th century BC King Ilushuma, Assyria conducted many successful raids against the states of the south. Assyria fell under the control of the Amorite chieftain Shamshi-Adad I, who established a dynasty and was unusually energetic and politically canny, installing his sons as puppet rulers at Mari and Ekallatm. Following this it found itself under short periods of Babylonian and Mitanni-Hurrian domination in the 17th and 15th centuries BC followed by another period of power from 1365 BC to 1074 BC, that included the reigns of kings such as Ashur-uballit I, Tukulti-Ninurta I, Tiglath-Pileser I. Ashur-uballit extended Assyrian control over the rich farming lands of Nineveh and Arbela to the north.
Tiglath-Pileser controlled the lucrative caravan routes that crossed the fertile crescent from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Much campaigning by Tiglath-Pileser and succeeding kings was directed against Aramaean pastoralist groups in Syria, some of whom were moving against Assyrian centers. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Aramaean expansion had resulted in the loss of much Assyrian territory in Upper Mesopotamia. After the death of Tiglath-Pileser I in 1076 BC, Assyria was in comparative decline for the next 150 years; the period from 1200 BC to 900 BC was a Dark Age for the entire Near East, North Africa, Caucasus and Balkan regions, with great upheavals and mass movements of people. Assyria was in a stronger position during this time than potential rivals such as Egypt, Elam, Urartu and Media. Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II, Assyria again became a great power, overthrowing the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt and conquering Elam, Media, Mannea, Phoenicia/Canaan, Israel, Philistia, Moab, Cilicia, Chaldea, Commagene, Dilmun and Neo-Hittites.
Adad-nirari II and his successors campaigned on an annual basis for part of every year with an exceptionally well-organized army. He subjugated the areas under only nominal Assyrian vassalage and deporting Aramean and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places. Adad-nirari II twice attacked and defeated Shamash-mudammiq of Babylonia, annexing a large area of land north of the Diyala river and the towns of Hit and Zanqu in mid Mesopotamia, he made further gains over Babylonia under Nabu-shuma-ukin I in his reign. He was succeeded by Tukulti-Ninurta II in 891 BC, who further consolidated Assyria's position and expanded northwards into Asia Minor and the Zagros Mountains during his short reign; the next king, Ashurnasirpal II, embarked on a vast program of expansion. During his rule, Assyria recovered much of the territory that it had lost around 1100 BC at the end of the Middle Assyrian period. Ashurnasirpal II camp
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to
King of the Four Corners
King of the Four Corners of the World shortened to King of the Four Corners, was a title of great prestige claimed by powerful monarchs in ancient Mesopotamia. Though the term "four corners of the world" does refer to specific geographical places within and near Mesopotamia itself, these places were at the time the title was first used thought to represent locations near the actual edges of the world and as such, the title should be interpreted as something equivalent to "King of all the known world", a claim to universal rule over the entire world and everything within it; the title was first used by Naram-Sin of the Akkadian Empire in the 23rd century BC and was used by the rulers of the Neo-Sumerian Empire after which it fell into disuse. After this point, the title came to be used by Assyrian rulers, becoming prominent during the Neo-Assyrian Empire; the final ruler to claim the title was the first Persian Achaemenid king, Cyrus the Great, after his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. It is possible, at least among Assyrian rulers, that the title of King of the Four Corners was not inherited through normal means.
As the title is not attested for all Neo-Assyrian kings and for some only attested several years into their reign it is possible that it might have had to be earned by each king individually through completing successful military campaigns in all four points of the compass. The similar title of šar kiššatim with Akkadian origins and attested for some of the Neo-Assyrian kings, may have required seven successful military campaigns; the difference between the exact meaning of the two titles may have been that "King of the Universe" laid claim to the cosmological realm whereas "King of the Four Corners of the World" laid claim to the terrestrial. The term "four corners of the world" appears in several ancient mythologies and cosmologies, wherein it corresponds the four points of the compass. In most of these representations, four principal rivers run to these four corners, their water irrigating the four quadrants of the world. In the view of the Mesopotamian Akkadians, the term referred to four regions on the edge of the known world.
To Naram-Sin of Akkad, the creator of the title, it in geographical terms, expressed his dominion over the regions Elam, Subartu and Akkad. The term thus covers a somewhat clear geographical region, corresponding to Mesopotamia and its surroundings, but should be understood as referring to the entire known world. At the point in time when the title was first used, the 2200s BC, the Mesopotamians would have equated all of Mesopotamia to the entire world. A title the like of King of the Four Corners of the World should be taken as meaning that its holder was the ruler of the entire Earth and everything within it; the title can be interpreted as being equivalent to calling oneself "King of all the known world". During the Early Dynastic Period in Mesopotamia, the rulers of the various city-states in the region would launch invasions into regions and cities far from their own, at most times with negligible consequences for themselves, in order to establish temporary and small empires to either gain of keep a superior position relative to the other city-states.
This early empire-building was encouraged as the most powerful monarchs were rewarded with the most prestigious titles, such as the title of lugal. Most of these early rulers had acquired these titles rather than inherited them; this quest to be more prestigious and powerful than the other city-states resulted in a general ambition for universal rule. Since Mesopotamia was equated to correspond to the entire world and Sumerian cities had been built far and wide it seemed possible to reach the edges of the world. Rulers attempting to reach a position of universal rule became more common during the Early Dynastic IIIb period during which two prominent examples are attested; the first, king of Adab, is claimed by the Sumerian King List to have created a great empire covering the entirety of Mesopotamia, reaching from modern Syria to Iran, saying that he "subjugated the Four Corners". The second, king of Uruk, conquered the entirety of Lower Mesopotamia and claimed that his domain extended from the upper to the lower sea.
Lugalzaggesi was titled as "King of Uruk" and adopted the title "King of the Land" to lay claim to universal rule. This title had been employed by some earlier Sumerian kings claiming control over all of Sumer, such as Enshakushanna of Uruk. Sargon, king of Akkad, unified Lower and Upper Mesopotamia, creating the first true Mesopotamian empire. Though Sargon most used the title "King of Akkad", he introduced the more boastful title of šar kiššatim ("King of Everything" or "King of the
The Near East is a geographical term that encompasses a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. Despite having varying definitions within different academic circles, the term was applied to the maximum extent of the Ottoman Empire; the term has fallen into disuse in English and has been replaced by the terms Middle East, which includes Egypt, West Asia, which includes the Transcaucasus. According to the National Geographic Society, the terms Near East and Middle East denote the same territories and are "generally accepted as comprising the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Palestinian territories and Turkey"; as of 1997, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defined the region but included Afghanistan. At the beginning of the 19th century the Ottoman Empire included all of the Balkan Peninsula south to the southern edge of the Hungarian Plain, but by 1914 had lost all of it except Constantinople and Eastern Thrace to the rise of nationalist Balkan states, which saw the independence of Greece, the Danubian Principalities and Bulgaria.
Up until 1912, the Ottomans retained a band of territory including Albania and Southern Thrace, which were lost in the two Balkan Wars of 1912–13. The Ottoman Empire, believed to be about to collapse, was portrayed in the press as the "sick man of Europe"; the Balkan states, with the partial exception of Bosnia and Albania, were Christian, as was the majority of Lebanon. Starting in 1894, the Ottomans struck at the Armenians on the explicit grounds that they were a non-Muslim people and as such were a potential threat to the Muslim empire within which they resided; the Hamidian Massacres aroused the indignation of the entire Christian world. In the United States the now aging Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, leaped into the war of words and joined the Red Cross. Relations of minorities within the Ottoman Empire and the disposition of former Ottoman lands became known as the "Eastern Question", as the Ottomans were on the east of Europe, it now became relevant to define the east of the eastern question.
In about the middle of the 19th century Near East came into use to describe that part of the east closest to Europe. The term Far East appeared contemporaneously meaning Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Near East applied to what had been known as the Levant, in the jurisdiction of the Ottoman Porte, or government; those who used the term had little choice about its meaning. They could not set foot on most of the shores of the southern and central Mediterranean from the Gulf of Sidra to Albania without permits from the Ottoman Empire; some regions beyond the Ottoman Porte were included. One was North Africa west of Egypt, it was occupied by piratical kingdoms of the Barbary Coast, de facto-independent since the 18th century part of the empire at its apogee. Iran was included because it could not be reached except through the Ottoman Empire or neighboring Russia. In the 1890s the term tended to focus on the conflicts in Armenia; the demise of "the sick man of Europe" left considerable confusion as to what was to be meant by "Near East".
It is now used only in historical contexts, to describe the countries of Western Asia from the Mediterranean to Iran. There is, in short, no universally-understood fixed inventory of nations, languages or historical assets defined to be in it; the geographical terms Near East and Far East referring to areas of the globe in or contiguous to the former British Empire and the neighboring colonies of the Dutch, Portuguese and Germans, fit together as a pair based on the opposites of far and near, suggesting that they were innovated together. They appear together in the journals of the mid-19th century. Both terms were used before with local British and American meanings: the near or far east of a field, village or shire. There was a linguistic predisposition to use such terms; the Romans had used them in near Gaul / far Gaul, near Spain / far others. Before them the Greeks had the habit, which appears in Linear B, the oldest known script of Europe, referring to the near province and the far province of the kingdom of Pylos.
These terms were given with reference to a geographic feature, such as a mountain range or a river. Ptolemy's Geography divided Asia on a similar basis. In the north is "Scythia this side of the Himalayas" and "Scythia beyond the Himalayas". To the south is "India on this side of the Ganges" and "India beyond the Ganges". Asia began on the coast of Anatolia. Beyond the Ganges and Himalayas were Serica and Serae and some other identifiable far eastern locations known to the voyagers and geographers but not to the general European public. By the time of John Seller's Atlas Maritima of 1670, "India Beyond the Ganges" had become "the East Indies" including China, southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific in a map, every bit as distorted as Ptolemy's, despite the lapse of 1,500 years; that "east" in turn was only an English translation of Latin Oriens and Orientalis, "the land of the rising Sun", used since Roman times for "east". The world map of Jodocus Hondius of 1590 labels all of Asia from the Caspian to the Pacific as India Orientalis, shortly to appear in translation as the East Indies.
Elizabeth I of England interested in trade with the east, collaborated with English merchants to form the first trading companies to the far-flung regions, using their own jargon. Their goals were to obtain trading concessio
The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, it surrounds the eponymous Caucasus region and is home to Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe; the Caucasus Mountains include Lesser Caucasus in the south. The Greater Caucasus runs west-northwest to east-southeast, from the Caucasian Natural Reserve in the vicinity of Sochi on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea nearly to Baku on the Caspian Sea; the Lesser Caucasus runs parallel to the Greater about 100 km south. The Greater and Lesser Caucasus ranges are connected by the Likhi Range, to the west and east of the Likhi Range lie the Colchis Plain and the Kur-Araz Lowland; the Meskheti Range is a part of the Lesser Caucasus system. In the southeast the Aras River separates the Lesser Caucasus from the Talysh Mountains which straddle the border of southeastern Azerbaijan and Iran; the Lesser Caucasus and the Armenian Highland constitute the Transcaucasian Highland, which at their western end converge with the highland plateau of Eastern Anatolia in the far north east of Turkey.
The highest peak in the Caucasus range is Mount Elbrus in the Greater Caucasus, which rises to a height of 5,642 metres above sea level. Mountains near Sochi hosted part of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Geologically, the Caucasus Mountains belong to a system that extends from southeastern Europe into Asia; the Greater Caucasus Mountains are composed of Cretaceous and Jurassic rocks with the Paleozoic and Precambrian rocks in the higher regions. Some volcanic formations are found throughout the range. On the other hand, the Lesser Caucasus Mountains are formed predominantly of the Paleogene rocks with a much smaller portion of the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks; the evolution of the Caucasus began from the Late Triassic to the Late Jurassic during the Cimmerian orogeny at the active margin of the Tethys Ocean while the uplift of the Greater Caucasus is dated to the Miocene during the Alpine orogeny. The Caucasus Mountains formed as the result of a tectonic plate collision between the Arabian plate moving northwards with respect to the Eurasian plate.
As the Tethys Sea was closed and the Arabian Plate collided with the Iranian Plate and was pushed against it and with the clockwise movement of the Eurasian Plate towards the Iranian Plate and their final collision, the Iranian Plate was pressed against the Eurasian Plate. As this happened, the entire rocks, deposited in this basin from the Jurassic to the Miocene were folded to form the Greater Caucasus Mountains; this collision caused the uplift and the Cenozoic volcanic activity in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. The entire region is subjected to strong earthquakes from this activity. While the Greater Caucasus Mountains have a folded sedimentary structure, the Lesser Caucasus Mountains are of volcanic origin; the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau in Georgia and the surrounding volcanic ranges which extend well into central Armenia are some of the youngest features of the region. Only was the Caucasus a scene for intense volcanic activity: the Armenian highland was flooded by calc-alkaline basalts and andesites in the Pliocene and the highest summits of the Caucasus, the Elbrus, the Kazbek, formed as Pleistocene-Pliocene volcanoes.
The Kazbek is no longer active, but the Elbrus erupted in postglacial times and fumarole activity is registered near its summit. Contemporary seismic activity is a prominent feature of the region, reflecting active faulting and crustal shortening. Clusters of seismicity occur in northern Armenia. Many devastating earthquakes have been documented in historical times, including the Spitak earthquake in December 1988 which destroyed the Gyumri-Vanadzor region of Armenia. Europe's highest mountain is Mount Elbrus 5,642 m in the Caucasus Mountains. Elbrus is 832 m higher than the highest peak in the Alps and western Europe at 4,810 m; the crest of the Caucasus Mountains is taken to define the continental divide between Asia and Europe for the region between the Black and Caspian Seas. The table below lists some of the highest peaks of the Caucasus. With the exception of Shkhara, the heights are taken from Soviet 1:50,000 mapping; the list includes all mountains over 4,500 m height with 300 m prominence.
Mount Ararat in Turkey is just south of the lesser Caucasus. The climate of the Caucasus varies both vertically and horizontally. Temperature decreases as elevation rises. Average annual temperature in Sukhumi, Abkhazia at sea level is 15 °C while on the slopes of Mt. Kazbek at an elevation of 3,700 metres, average annual temperature falls to−6.1 °C. The northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range are 3 °C colder than the southern slopes; the highlands of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains in Armenia and Georgia are marked by sharp temperature contrasts between the summer and winter months due to a more continental climate. Precipitation increases from east to west in most areas. Elevation plays an important role in the Caucasus and mountains receive higher amounts of precipitation than low-lying areas; the northeastern regions and the southern portions of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains are the driest. The absolute minimum annual precipitation is 250 mm in the northeastern Caspian Depression.
Western parts of the Caucasus Mountains are marked by high amounts of precipitation. The southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range receive higher amounts of precipitation than the northern slope