National Geographic : 1897 Feb
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSOCIETY In the Nile valley the date palm was first cultivated, while wheat and barley came probably from the Euphrates region. Very ancient monu ments show gods adorned with grain and honored with the plow. The native fauna included the buffalo, the wild ox, the ass, the sheep, and the goat, all domesticated in the earliest times and providing an un equaled basis for incipient civilization. These natural advantages allowed a dense population, but the danger of invasion, especially from Elam, compelled the population, which from the beginning had had to fight lions, leopards, and wild oxen, also to fight their neighbors. This developed a more warlike race than inhabited Egypt. Barbaric invasions also gave a more composite population, and necessitated civil wars. From the beginning of history we find Baby lonia attacking Elam on the east and reaching, to the north and west, as far as the Mediterranean. Before the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty Egyptian influence had hardly entered Asia, while Babylonia ruled as far as Cyprus, and it was Babylonian culture which controlled Asia Minor and all the coast, created the Assyrian and Hittite people, and through these and the Phoenician trade gave the chief impulse to Greek civiliza tion. March 15. Syria, by Rev. Dr. THOMAs J. SHAHAN, of the Catholic University of America. Syria: Its human interest; from time immemorial a battlefield; the scene of West Asiatic conquest and defeat. The empires of Egypt and Africa. The Lombardy of the Orient. The forum of eastern and west ern civilizations. The converging point of far Eastern trade. Emporium for other Mediterranean nations and the far West. The Phoenician era. Tyre and Sidon. Colonies. The place of ancient Syria in letters, art, and politics. Orographical formation: Rivers; Table-lands; The Great Steppe. Vege tation. Geological formation: Cretaceous limestone of the plateaux. Basaltic peaks. Alluvial lands. Clay soils of the Steppe. Political geography: Pre-Egyptian inhabitants. Egyptian conquest. A subject state of Assyria, Babylonia, Persia. The inheritance of the Greek generals of Alexander. Armenian and Parthian masters. Be comes part of the world-empire of Rome. Chief bazaar and art-museum of the empire. The causes of its decline and early conquest by Arab invaders. Islam and Syria. March 22. Tyre and Sidon, by Professor THOMAS DAVIDSON, M. A ., of Brooklyn, N. Y. The Phoenicians a branch of the Semites. The Semitic character and form of social union. Religion. Devotion to industry and trade. The extent of Semitic civilization. Homeric Greece and the civilization of Agamemnon Semitic. The Semitic character as affected by surroundings; by the desert (Arabs); by the fertile land (Babylonians, etc.); by mountains and sea (Phoenicians). Phoenicians unwarlike but enterprising. Nature of their civilization, industry, and trade.