As we all know, the brilliant ancient Greek civilization is the cradle of Western civilization.
However, in the childhood of Greek civilization, it also absorbed a lot of rich nutrients from the nearby birthplace of world civilization – the Near East, especially the two river basins (Mesopotamia) and Egypt, so as to form its own unique civilization, which laid the foundation for the rise of Western civilization.
This paper tries to make a brief analysis of the influence of the ancient two river basins on Greek culture.
Throughout the ancient history of the old continent, we can see that the early civilization of mankind was mainly produced in the vast area from the Mediterranean coast to the Yellow River and Yangtze River Basin.
The above-mentioned regions can basically be divided into three regions: the Near East Mediterranean, South Asia and East Asia, and the East and West wings of South Asia (the Ganges River Basin and the Indus River Basin) are connected with the civilizations of East Asia and the Near East respectively.
In the near east civilization area, the two river basin and Egypt are the two major centers of civilization, especially the two river basin.
It is the birthplace of world civilization.
Here, the world’s earliest villages, cities and characters have been produced, which has a strong radiation impact on adjacent areas.
Greece, located in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean, is different from the Near East in many aspects, but it has been long influenced by the culture of the Near East, especially the two river basins, because of its late origin and geographical proximity.
Geographically, the West Bank of the Greek peninsula is relatively flat, while the east bank has many twists and turns, which is conducive to exchanges with the Near East.
It is no accident that Athens, Corinth and other city states are located on the East Bank of the peninsula.
The Greek colony Ionia (especially Miletus) facing the Aegean Sea has become one of the centers of Greek culture.
The main channels of cultural exchanges between Greece and the Near East are Asia Minor, Syria Palestine and Cyprus.
These regions themselves are strongly influenced by the two rivers culture.
Therefore, they have become the intersection area of eastern and Western civilizations, developed their own unique culture of integrating all parties, and become a veritable “Gold Coast”.
From the way of communication, there are immigration, trade, war, marriage, missionary, travel and so on.
In terms of trade, a major feature of ancient countries in the Near East is the extreme importance of Commerce.
The ancient characters in the two river basins and Phoenicia were produced in the needs of commercial accounting (while Egyptian characters and Chinese oracle bone inscriptions are closely related to Religion in origin).
Since the beginning of civilization, the residents of the two rivers have started long-distance trade with Afghanistan, Central Asia and Syria, and gradually developed to Crete and Cyprus.
In addition, Assyrian countries have also established commercial colonies in small Asia in the early stage, with a perfect organizational network.
Moreover, a large number of Greeks came to West Asia from the peninsula very early, either settled and worked, or joined the army.
For example, there were many Greeks in the Assyrian army.
During the Hellenization period, a large number of Greek cities were established in the Near East, including Babylon.
Babylon and Seleucia on the Tigris River became the capital of the Empire and the Seleucid Dynasty.
During this period, many Greeks, including members of the royal family, intermarried with local people (for example, a king of the Seleucid Dynasty once made Babylonian women imperial concubines).
As for travel, many famous Greek scholars, such as the historians Herodotus and Xenophon, have traveled extensively in the two river basins, recording many historical rumors and local customs.
The contact between Greece and the two river basins is bounded by Alexander’s eastward expedition, which can be roughly divided into two stages.
The first stage began in about 6500 BC.
At that time, a large number of residents from western Asia migrated to the Aegean islands and the Greek mainland, bringing the developed agricultural culture of Western Asia.
Their houses still maintain the habits of their hometown.
They use mud bricks as materials and replace the old with the new.
Their base sites gradually accumulate to form square hills (such square hills are also widely distributed in the Near East, which is “ter” in Arabic).
The square Hill site of Knossos on Crete Island has reached a height of 7 meters in the bronze age.
Since then, the Crete civilization and Mycenaean civilization, which are very similar to the Near East, have gradually formed in the region.
At that time, the Greeks had maintained close ties with the Near East.
After about 1200 BC, Dorians from the mainland immigrated to the peninsula in large numbers, and formed a new Greek civilization marked by Homer’s epic on the basis of partially absorbing the original civilization.
However, the new Greeks remained closed and engaged in a “pure” agricultural economy for a long time, and did not resume contacts with the Near East until centuries later.
As mentioned above, the communication with the two river basins during this period was indirect.
After Alexander’s eastward expedition, the establishment of Alexander Empire and Seleucid Dynasty brought the two sides into direct contact.
The influence of civilization in the two river basins on Greek culture is mainly reflected in the following aspects. I. language and writing the two river basins were the first to produce characters in the world.
In the early stage, they were pictorial characters, and later developed into cuneiform characters.
Their letters were borrowed by many languages in West and Central Asia.
The earliest Greek characters were the linear characters of Crete and Mycenae, which were produced under the indirect influence of Lianghe ancient characters (Sumerian and Akad), but they disappeared due to the invasion of Dorians belonging to Indo European language family.
On the other side of the Mediterranean, a text reform is brewing.
Sinai and Phoenicia, influenced by Egyptian and Lianghe characters, have produced a simple alphabet system, in which Phoenicia’s Bible letter includes 22 consonant characters, which is more suitable for the needs of commercial activities.
About 1000 BC, the Greeks borrowed Phoenician letters and created the world’s first alphabet containing consonants and vowels.
At first, the Greek alphabet, like the Semitic alphabet, was written from right to left (today’s Arabic and Hebrew are still the same), and later evolved from left to right, forming “the first great language of Western civilization”.
In addition to accepting the influence of cuneiform between letters, the Greek words also absorbed a number of cuneiform words because the Greeks introduced some technological inventions and biological species in the two river basins.
For example, the Greek word for hoe is Marron, and Akkadian is marru.
The Greek word for flax is chiton, and Akkadian is kitu.
The Greek word for cherry is kerasos, and the Akkadian word is karshu.
In addition, some drug names in Greek are also derived from Akkadian.
The following is a comparison of some plant and mineral names used as drugs: Chinese Akkadian Greek English horn bean tree kharuba charrouba carob saffron kurkanu krokos cross Ou dill kamanu kuminon cummin gypsum gassu gypso2.
The field of literature is manifested in three aspects: the form, material, form of expression and style of literature.
Early Greek ancient literary works include epics, proverbs and aphorisms, which are mostly related to the literature of the two river basins.
For example, Homer’s famous epics Odyssey and Iliad describe the achievements of the Greek hero Achilles in Troy and the return adventure of Oedipus in Troy respectively.
The plot is obviously influenced by the world’s earliest epic Gilgamesh, which describes the story of the legendary hero Gilgamesh in the two river basins.
American scholar Robert Graves pointed out the similarities between the two sides in his Book Greek mythology.
For example, the Greek story mentioned the snake with immortal grass, which was similar to Gilgamesh’s last fairy grass stolen by the snake.
Orion was stabbed to death by a giant scorpion after reaching the sunset, and Gilgamesh met a scorpion at the end of the world when he was looking for his father.
In addition, Patroclus, a close friend of Achilles, was killed in the battle, while enqi, a comrade in arms of Gilgamesh, also died because of the sin of the God.
Moreover, the famous Greek hero Heracles also has many similarities with Gilgamesh.
For example, both of them are half human and half god, who have defeated many ghosts and demons.
Even the number of their achievements is 12 (according to the adventures of Gilgamesh).
Not only that, there are similarities between Greek and Lianghe epics even in literary forms such as decorative language, antithesis and the way of alternating speaking and singing.
Finally, the two epics reflect the same flavor of the times.
First, the will of God determines everything.
Whether it is the process and outcome of the Trojan war or the fate of Gilgamesh, it is up to the hand of the gods.
Second, Agamemnon, the Greek commander who forcibly seized the female slaves of Achilles, is similar to Gilgamesh, who was the ruler of Uruk and did evil in the early stage.
Both of them represent the increasingly powerful and arbitrary king during the formation of the state, and are attacked by the epic writers.
Third, the human spirit of challenging nature and divine power.
This is reflected in the adventures of Odysseus and heraclis and Gilgamesh’s journey of finding immortal grass despite difficulties and dangers.
The route of the two rivers epic to Greece may be Xiaoya, because Homer’s epic is written in the Ionian dialect, and the Gilgamesh epic versions of Akkadian, Hittite and hurit have been found in hetti in Xiaoya.
In addition to the epic, the two river basins have the world’s earliest fables, which are related to the famous Aesop’s fables.
The story of “elephant and mosquito” may originate from the two rivers. III. The mathematics of the two river basins of science and astrology is extremely developed.
It takes the lead in using digital value, decimal and sixty carry system in the world.
Among them, the sixty carry system is used for the division of circle and time, and the calculation is simple.
The Babylonians divided the time of day and night into six sections, which was also accepted by the Greeks and gave birth to the 24-hour system.
The two river basins also produced the earliest lunar months and weeks.
In terms of astronomical observation, the Babylonians accumulated long-term and systematic observation data and formulated the zodiac, which was fully accepted by the Greeks, and some mythological images symbolizing various palaces remained unchanged (such as the bull in Taurus, the crab in cancer, the scorpion in Scorpio, etc.). The Babylonians and Thales were shocked by the results of an astronomical battle between the Babylonians and Thales in 585 BC.
Astronomical instruments in the two river basins were also introduced by the Greeks.
For example, anaximand once brought a sundial to Sparta.
Astrology, which was widely popular in Babylon, was also introduced into Greece, especially in the Hellenistic era.
The difference is that Babylon mainly used astrology to predict the good or bad luck of the king and the great events of the state, while the Greeks magnified the side of Babylonian astrology used to predict personal destiny.
“Chaldeans” are widely known in the West as synonymous with astrologers (Chaldeans were the founders of the new Babylonian Dynasty).
In the field of medicine, as mentioned earlier, some drug names and prescriptions in Babylon were adopted by the Greeks, but ancient Egypt had a greater impact on Greek medicine.
In addition to specific scientific fields, the contribution of Lianghe science to Greece is also reflected in the spirit and methods of science.
French scholar Jean portro pointed out that it is difficult for ordinary people to imagine how Babylonian astrology affected secular Greek astronomy.
In fact, Babylonian astrology contains a rich scientific spirit.
Among the large number of Lianghe cultural relics discovered so far, there are about 30000 oracles written in cuneiform on the mud board.
They involve all things in the universe, showing the encyclopedic interest of Lianghe people.
Secondly, many omens are made after a lot of observation and summary.
For example, the relationship between some shapes of sheep liver and historical events is obtained after multiple “verification”.
Therefore, divination has developed from the initial empirical observation to a priori inferential knowledge.
Third, the abstract and scientific attitude towards things.
There is a strong premonition of the human head, and sometimes there is a strong premonition of the human head.
Therefore, the means of divination between the two rivers is scientific and advanced.
In addition, a large number of divination “papers” have a strict system, and different contents are discussed in turn through a large number of conditional sentences and conclusions, which is the common style of medical, mathematics, lexicology, grammar and Law (like the famous Hammurabi code) of Lianghe.
It fully proves the scientific spirit of the Babylonians, which was borrowed by the Greeks. IV. historiography the two river basins have left a large number of historical documents in history, including royal inscriptions, communications, documents and archives, treaties, chronicles, etc.
, and the system of named year officials (naming the year after the official’s name) is implemented, so that people can roughly understand the names, ruling years and major “great undertakings” of the monarchs of previous dynasties.
Among them, the Assyrian Empire has paid great attention to indicating the year of the inscription since about 1300 BC, and recorded other activities except civil construction, mainly military campaigns so far.
By 1000 BC, a complete chronicle had been formed, which is the famous “Assyrian Chronicle”.
It is not limited to the accumulation of historical materials, but the analysis at the same timeThe motive of events, the process of judging actions, recording political changes, summarizing regional history or national characteristics, as well as geography, climate and strategic tactics of campaigns do not directly belong to history.
In the new Babylonian Kingdom, a chronicle was also formed and continued to the Seleucid Dynasty.
The above traditions have had an impact on the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon who have traveled widely in the two river basins.
Herodotus, the “father of history”, wrote a book named “history”, which records the geography, history, nationality, religion, economy, politics and local customs of countries and nationalities around Greece, such as Egypt, Babylon, Persia and Scythians.
He praised the civilization of these countries and pointed out that Greece had learned a lot from Eastern countries.
In the study of the Greek Polish war, he showed the tendency of “explaining history from history itself”, rather than attributing history to divine meaning.
This humanistic thought created a new era of Greek and even western historiography.
What is more noteworthy is that the Greek monk and historian berussus who settled in Babylon in Seleucid period wrote the history of Babylon (Greek), which describes the geography of the two river basins and the long history from ancient times to Alexander’s eastward expedition, and directly claims that the Seleucid Empire is the successor of the two river traditions and civilizations, Thus, it demonstrates the political legitimacy of the Seleucus family. V. religion there are many differences between Greek religion and Lianghe religion, but the two sides also have many similarities.
They are basically in the same stage of development.
They are polytheistic, but they have the LORD God.
Gods not only retain the remnants of nature worship, but also local protective gods.
For example, Athena is also the protective god and God of wisdom of Athens, while Marduk is also the protective god and God of war of Babylon.
In addition to these general similarities, they have at least the following specific aspects in common.
First, a strict system of gods.
Greek religion originated in the Mycenaean era, when the political system was autocratic kingship, which was the same as that in the Near East.
The human system must echo the heavenly system, and the Greek pantheon is thus expressed as a strict system with orderly order, dignity and inferiority.
This is the same as Lianghe religion, which is also a strict system led by the Supreme God (ANU in Sumerian times and Marduk in Babylonian times).
Second, the nature of gods.
Greek religion is famous for the theory of “God Man homomorphism”, which is not only the result of Dorian invasion destroying Mycenae’s Kingdom system, but also one of the characteristics of early religion.
God has human form.
They also have gender differences, including happiness, anger, sadness, love, cheating, wives, children, relatives and friends.
The only difference is that they can live forever.
However, the religions of Lianghe (and Egypt) are similar.
For example, ANU’s wife is antum, and their son is enril, the God of the storm.
The latter also becomes the “father of the gods”.
Many gods are their descendants, and the love between gods and gods is also common (such as the story of Ishtar and talmuz, the God of love, and Ishtar’s love for Gilgamesh).
In addition, there are half human and half animal fairy demons and animal gods in the myths of the two countries.
Third, the status of some gods.
Alflodi, the Greek god of love, is also the God of Venus, and Ishtar, the God of love, is also the God of Venus and the God of peace and war, which is respected by many nationalities in the Near East, including the Hittites and hurites in Asia.
Zeus is the Greek god of Mars, and malduk, the king of the gods, is also the God of Mars.
Fourth, some are similar.
In addition to the proximity of the aforementioned epic details, the Greek flood story is also similar to the Sumerian flood story.
The creation stories of the two countries also have many similarities.
Greek gods are divided into Titan and Zeus, which originated from Mycenae and Doria respectively.
Therefore, the creation story describes the process of Zeus defeating Titan.
The Titans, representing the primitive chaos, were defeated by Zeus and were locked into the abyss, and the world recovered its light.
This is the second creation after the separation of Gaia, the God of earth, and Uranus, the God of heaven.
The battle between Zeus and Typhon is another creation after defeating Titan, thus consolidating the God system led by Zeus.
This also reveals the concept of the cycle of all things.
Western scholar F. M. conford pointed out that the above myth is similar to the story of Marduk’s victory over tirmat in Babylon.
Marduk was declared the king of the gods (which showed that Babylon became the capital of the unified kingdom of the two rivers).
He cut tilmat, the sea god who also represented chaos, into two, and changed them into earth and sea respectively, from which the world was born.
The Phoenician clay tablets of the 14th century BC and the Hittite documents found by archaeologists contain similar contents, which verifies the correctness of the conford hypothesis and explains some seemingly irrelevant or incomprehensible details in the Greek Hesiod, as well as the channel and time of the spread of the two rivers creation myth to Greece.
During the Hellenization period, the two river basins became the channel for the spread of Eastern religions, including Persia, to Greece, laying the foundation for the confluence of Greek religions and Eastern religions, indicating the rise of monotheism in the Mediterranean world. Vi. architectural art the geographical climate and products of Greece and the two river basins are quite different.
For example, the two river basins are lack of stone and wood, while Greece is quite rich in these two aspects.
Coupled with the cultural differences between the two countries, it is bound to affect the architectural styles of both sides.
However, Greek architecture is still influenced by the architecture of the two rivers in some aspects.
For example, some scholars believe that the Ionian column, as a symbol of Greek architecture, originated from the religious and artistic symbol of the primitive writing period of the two rivers, that is, a bundle of tied reeds, whose top is curled to the side due to binding, which developed into the vortex decoration on both sides of the top of the Ionian column.
These bundles of reeds can still be seen among Arabs living in the marshes of southern Iraq today.
In fact, the impact of the two river basins on Greece is not limited to the above aspects.
For example, in terms of balance, the Greeks used the units of Mina and tarante of two rivers, and 1 tarante is equal to 60 Mina.
Politically, both Alexander the great and the Seleucid monarchs in the Hellenistic period adopted the eastern theoryof divine power and autocratic system.
Alexander’s title also had the title of “king of Babylon” (Babylon is also the capital of Alexander’s Empire).
Of course, Greek civilization was also influenced by other civilizations in the Near East, such as Egypt, in many aspects, but the influence of the two river basins was greater.
It can be said that it is absorbing the two river basins and EgyptOn the basis of the rich nutrition of the ancient and splendid civilization of the East, the Greek civilization can be more perfect, and finally surpass the blue, laying a solid foundation for the future western civilization.
Jean portro pointed out: “basically all aspects of our culture originated from (BC) The Mesopotamian civilization that flourished in the 4000 and 3000 centuries was formed.
This civilization is perhaps the oldest in the world, and it deserves the title.
Throughout its existence, it radiated to the surrounding areas and inspired its neighbors to enrich itself: Israel was directly influenced by it, imitated and worked with its Semitic companions.
The Greeks were influenced by the Hittites and the pre Greeks of Asia Minor (i.e. Mycenae and Crete).
” In short, the influence of the civilization of the two rivers on Greek culture is of great historical significance, and Greek culture and Jewish culture affected by the two rivers constitute the source of Western civilization.
The spread of culture to Greece has not only greatly enriched European civilization, but also perpetuated the immortal heritage of the two river civilizations and benefited the world.
A popular view holds that among the world’s ancient civilizations, only Chinese civilization has been growing ever since ancient times, while other civilizations such as the two rivers basin, Egypt, India (haraba Culture), Greece and Rome are passing by and no longer brilliant.
The author believes that the above view seems to be biased.
In most parts of Eurasia, the development of civilization is characterized by small scale, numerous nationalities, frequent national migration and frequent and fierce conflicts between nomadic civilization and agricultural civilization.
Therefore, ancient civilizations often collide with other nationalities.
Due to the lack of space for maneuver, huge human reserves and climate change, they are not immune to extinction.
However, the ancient civilization made the invaders accept their own culture or form a kind of integrated culture through ethnic mixed race, religious transmission and religious reform, cultural influence and other ways.
In addition, the legacy of ancient civilization can also be retained indirectly through the impact on the surrounding nationalities.
The impact of the two river basins on Greece is an example.
Therefore, although the above-mentioned ancient civilization has perished in form, its rich cultural heritage has been retained in various ways, which has a profound impact on the civilization of the region in all aspects.
For example, the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have largely inherited the heritage of ancient civilizations such as the two rivers basin, Egypt, Syria and Greece.
The housing style of Arabs in the swamp of southern Iraq is almost the same as that of Sumerians thousands of years ago.
Moreover, it is in this fierce conflict and collision of civilizations that the development of various nationalities has accelerated, and many ancient civilizations have sprung up in this region, which can explain the problem.
As for China, although we have preserved the square characters of our ancestors and many other cultural heritages, the Chinese nation itself originated from a variety of cultures (including Dongyi culture and Chu Culture).
In thousands of years of history, it has also integrated many neighboring nationalities and absorbed their rich cultures and even the distant cultures of India, Central Asia, West Asia and Europe, Buddhism from India spread widely in China and had an extremely profound impact on Chinese philosophy and religion.
Moreover, the continuation of civilization is of course proud, but it also means a heavy burden, which we have deeply realized.
In short, the continuation and interruption of civilization can only be relative, “change” is the eternal law of the development of world history.