Category: turkey

It is delicately carved in relief with arabesque designs of interlacing foliage.

A brief geopolitical history that explains why Iraq’s famous two rivers are quickly shrinking. And what that means for Iraq’s future.


CILICIA is the ancient Roman name for the southeastern region of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It is referenced in the biblical books of Acts and Galatians, was the birthplace of Saint Paul, and the site of his early evangelical missions. The territory was first inhabited in the Neolithic Periodc. 8th millennium BCE and was under Hittite control by the 2nd millennium BCE before passing to the Assyrians, gaining its independence after the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BCE, and was then taken by the Persians before the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 BCE. After Alexander, the region became Hellenized and politically aligned with Syria which is why some major Cilician cities such as Tarsus are often identified as Syrian in ancient texts.

After Alexander’s death, the region was divided between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires. As the Seleucids began to lose power and influence over their part of the territory c. 110 BCE, the famous Cilician pirates emerged to fill the vacuum and exerted ever increasing control until c. 78-74 BCE when Rome intervened, conquering western Cilicia. Pompey the Great defeated and resettled the Cilician pirates by 67 BCE, and the region remained a province of the Roman Republic, Roman Empire, and Byzantine Empire until the early 8th century CE when it was taken by invading Muslim forces. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia flourished in the region between 1080-1375 CE before it fell to the Mamluks and was later incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1453 CE.

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45 color pics capture street scenes of Istanbul in the early 1970s.

The Neolithic Revolution, also known as the Agricultural Revolution, occurred about 12,000 years ago. For those, like me, who are not the best at math, that is around 10,000 BCE. There was a global trend away from nomadic hunting and gathering and towards sedentary farming. It appears to have arisen independently in multiple places in the Middle East, as well as in China and Papua New Guinea. Egypt and the Indus River Valley may have independently developed agriculture as well, or gotten the idea and the seeds from the Middle East or China.

Cereals, like barley in the Middle East and rice in China, were likely the first to be domesticated, eventually supplemented by protein-rice plants like peas and lentils. As people began to settle down they also domesticated animals. The earliest archaeological evidence of sheep and goat herding comes from around 10,000 BCE in the Iraq and Anatolia. Animals could be used as labor in the fields, or as sources of additional nutrients and calories to supplement the new cereal-heavy diet.

The Neolithic Revolution did not happen everywhere, and not all at once. And there remain a variety of hypotheses as to why humans stopped foraging and started farming. Population pressure may have caused increased competition for food and the need to cultivate new foods; people may have shifted to farming in order to involve elders and children in food production; humans may have learned to depend on plants they modified in early domestication attempts and in turn, those plants may have become dependent on humans. Whatever the reason, the Neolithic Revolution changed humanity – and our world – for good.

Did you know there was a Gallic chieftain’s wife who so impressed that Romans that they wrote her story – preserving her deeds and her name for posterity?

And she lived about 200 years before Boudicca.

Turkish Officer in a gas mask during the air practice. WW2, Istanbul, Turkey, 1939

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World’s first female airfighter Sabiha Gökçen with her airplane, 1930’s, Turkey.

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American Committee for Relief in the Near East workers (Sivas,
Turkey).  Photo from the New York Times (December 7th,

Trams pass in front of the New Mosque in Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey

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