Talk:Ancient Near East

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Introduced Slavery[edit]

In the second paragraph of the article, it says that the ancient near east was the first to have slavery. This seems a bit wierd to me. Is there no known hunter-gatherer society before that that had slaves? Couldn't the absence of a knowledge of such a society have more to do with the fact that they didn't write down their history. There should at least be a reference to the statement because it is not obvious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:28, 26 September 2012 (UTC)


Merged with Ancient Orient. I changed the definition of the end of the period to "rise of the Persian empire" – "Ancient Near East" is not commonly used to include times contemporary with Classical Antiquity. If there are usages/definitions that require it to reach until the rise of Islam, we can put that back in, saying that definitions vary. dab 10:12, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)


see Wikipedia:WikiProject Ancient Near East dab 21:05, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Excellent map.[edit]

Just thought I'd say so.--Rob117 02:14, 23 October 2006 (UTC)


Isn't the proper geographical designation as western, rather than eastern? Is this not the heritage of the Western, as opposed to Eastern world? Rhode Islander 07:51, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

um, no? From the point of view of Europe (and the English language, as well as Latin and Greek, do have their vocabulary shaped from an European outlook, no NPOV policy is going to change that), the Fertile Crescent lies to the East. Of course, the "Near East" is to the West as seen from Iran or India. And yes of course, the Ancient Near East exerted more influence on the "Western" world than on the "Far Eastern" one. It's still influence flowing east to west via Hellenism and the Roman Empire. dab () 09:52, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
From a global, rather than eurocentric perspective, this article's title is in error. To counter systemic bias, this article should reflect the more encompassing and neutral view. Furthermore, it is decieving to present the Levantine, Arabian and Anatolian lands as geographically or culturally Oriental--except in ex-Seljuk/Ottoman Turkey's case, just because of a linguistic approach (or as seen from Rome's position on the map) and the mere fact that Asia was the name of Anatolia. The way Wikipedia uses its categorical language, suggests that the Mediterranean shorelines are divided between East and West. That is demonstrably false and it is horrible to exclude, encyclopediacally, the Hamito-Semitic places from the Atlantic world by categorizing them as Asian (just as it is wrong of the UN to call them Western Asia). Asia is not greater in size to accomodate the Holy Land, Mesopotamia or Egypt, nor is Africa part of the Oriental mindset. The East (Pacific Rim) is a world of India, Indochina, China, Oceania, etc. Culturally and historically, the lands of Alexander the Great are Western--especially the Semitic ones. Just how many Orientals have a Semitic name (John, Mary, Joseph, Abraham, Sarah, Muhammad, Ali, Adam, Daniel) independent of Western colonial influences? One good look at the Abrahamic religion article is enough to explain the geopolitical divisions through time. Who contends that Arabian desert peoples have more in common with Asia than Europe & Africa? Rhode Islander 11:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
are you sure you know what you are talking about? Wikipedia has to choose its signifiants according to common usage in English. It cannot coin hyper-P.C but idiosyncratic terminology of its own. "Ancient Near East" is already the P.C. term for what used to be called "Ancient Orient". We could call it "Ancient [22-42 N; 27-52 E]", but then nobody would know what we are talking about, and we'd still be guilty of a Greenwich-bias, wouldn't we. en-wiki cannot but use terms that are "en"-centric. You may be interested in building jbo:, probably the only wiki free of such regional bias (but then 99% of its contributors are probably male white Anglo-Saxon nerds, so no luck again :) dab () 13:31, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I am not coming at this from an anti-WASP vantage point, but an inclusive Western one. Local geographic terminology has been the custom for centuries; there is no doubt about the currency of its usage. I think that the Atlantic world article would be the best place for distinctions. Rhode Islander 20:55, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
look, it is not "systemic bias" if an article titled "Ancient Near East" is in fact about the Ancient Near East. If you object to the term "Ancient Near East" itself, you'll need to establish that it is not the most common term used in academic literature per WP:NAME. If a name is the standard term in mainstream literature but you still don't like it, too bad, we'll still use it. --dab (𒁳) 15:16, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Related Point[edit]

There's no chance the change above is going to happen prior to Western civ's wholesale replacement by the Middle Kingdom's, but if someone with a LEXUSNEXUS or other academic account could at least post some numbers on the frequency of "ANCIENT NEAR EAST" versus "ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST," it'd make me feel better about the current title. It's simultaneously less accessible (inter alia, it's about 30x less common on Google) and more ambiguous, not to mention less wrong-headed (Egypt and Bahrain generally aren't considered part of the Near East, but were certainly within the orbit of the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations.)

If for whatever reasons, the professional scholarly concensus is firmly behind it, we oughtn't ignore that, but otherwise it'd be better to see a move. -LlywelynII (talk) 13:39, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

sorry, but why do you even bring this up? The term is "Ancient Near East".
"Ancient Middle East" is a misguided terminological confusion has a frequency of about 1:10 compared to ANE on google books. Of course, the 10% ratio is due to google scanning random trash, I am sure the ratio would be even lower in scholarly literature (fwiiw, I get about 8% on google scholar).
There is not even a remote possibility that "Ancient Middle East" can be argued to be the preferable WP:UCN title. The admittedly outdated "Ancient Orient" at about 20% is twice as current. --dab (𒁳) 13:52, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I bring it up because the term is "Middle East" and therefore its ancient phase should by rights be called the "Ancient Middle East." If scholarly consensus shifted otherwise, that's fine, but it's no more or less Eurocentric/misguided to call it "Middle" versus "Near." With, as pointed out above, additional needless problems of accessibility and definition.
You're absolutely right about the google books breakdown, though. So yep, no move planned or likely. -LlywelynII (talk) 14:15, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
well, I've never understood how "Middle East" is in any way more objective or preferable over "Near East". How is it less Eurocentric to call the region "Middle" rather than "Near"? If you cosult the Middle East article, you will realize that the term was coined in the 19th century to refer to the areas between Arabia and India (viz., Greater Iran). Extending the term to include the Levant or North Africa defeated the purpose of contrasting "Near" with "Middle". This has still happened after 1939, apparently simply because there was a British Middle East Command in Cairo. Sorry, but I don't understand how any of this makes "Middle East" a preferable or less Eurocentric term than the historical and the more correct "Near East". --dab (𒁳) 12:21, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

recent edits[edit]

so, instead of a clean list, we just have the copy-pasted vesions of the intros of each article linked, stacked on top of one another without rhyme or reason. I'm not sure that's an improvement. But it may be a first step in expanding the article into prose, I suppose. Much work is needed, then. dab (𒁳) 15:34, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

BC vs. BCE[edit]

I object to being chastised as an "era warrior". [1] I respect the "BC(E) armistice", but this goes both ways. I can claim to have a long-standing involvement with this article, since late 2004 [2]. The era style used was BC well into 2006, until it was changed without discussion by an anonymous editor in July 2006[3]. If we're going to regularize the era style, I do suggest it should be back to "BC". dab (𒁳) 17:30, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I never called you that, and if there has been a "war" here, it was long before my arrival. My only concern is with maintaining consistency. A mixture of systems in one article violates WP:MOS guidelines and confuses the reader. That said, now that the article is consistently based on BCE, I see no sense in changing over, especially since BCE is more faith-neutral and also, I believe, tends increasingly to be the norm in scholarly publications. Hertz1888 (talk) 17:53, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
yes, I'm sorry, I did not mean to say you attacked me. You may not be aware of it, but the question has a hairy history, and Wikipedia is in the state of an uneasy "era armistice" which says that the era style originally established in an article may not be switched. Which in this case would mean, BC. But I don't want to be a WP:DICK about this. (more at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate) --dab (𒁳) 18:04, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
You're not being a dick at all. Fix'd w/consistency. If there is some new consensus, link to it here before reverting page back to BCE. -LlywelynII (talk) 13:49, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
At least the MOS still lists Dbachmann's position as standard. The page should remain in the BC/AD format. -LlywelynII (talk) 14:01, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

someone please clean up periodisation dates[edit]

dates in periodisation for kingdom of israel seem wrong, according to kingdom of israel page dates were from 1050 BCE until 930 BCE. Periodisation currently places it in the category 900 to 700 BCE. This is a bit different isn't it? Also Phrygia date seems to be 1200 BCE on the Phrygia page and is also in this 900 to 700 BCE category. Who did this periodisation page? I am not used to wikipedia editing, so someone else who is better at clearing up and checking all these dates please clear up periodisation section for me. Israel should clearly be higher up in the timeline than it has been made to appear.

If you want to avoid politicization...[edit]

Don't write "modern..." regarding the middle east. If it has to be there, don't be surprised if it's being changed to fit the accepted NPOV. TFighterPilot (talk) 14:55, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Wider connections on WP seem warranted[edit]

The topic is of course somewhat confusing because of the variable definitions of Near East and the question of Middle East. These questions have been addressed on WP with an acceptable definitions of the terms. The problem is, this article does not seem to know a thing about it. It seems to me it needs a brief introduction to the concept of Near East. I have written it. It should go a long way toward easing the inner anguish of those who long have understood the Near East to be something else. This section basically summarizes concepts presented in Near East. It does not therefore need to reinvent the wheel with references. I feel the blue links to other, heavily referenced articles, covers the matter for this section.Dave (talk) 14:28, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Concept of civilization not quite up to date[edit]

Civilizations arise in agricultural nuclear areas. The Neolithic creates enough wealth to start a bronze age. So Braidwood spenda a lot of time developing "the nuclear area" from which the civilization of the ancient near east develops. That is all still true except for one development since Braidwood: the discovery of multiple nuclear areas and multiple cradles of civilization. They aren't the ones us white folks came from. They were all contributary to the matrix that is modern technological civilization but that event was not discovered until the late 20th. So, a major philosophic problem with this article is that it talks about THE cradle of civilization, just as Breasted once talked about the great white race until his students scrubbed his work up. The article in essence is an imperial British one. So, to fix it, someone needs to go through and remove all the implications that civilization began in this region. That was only one beginning. We must be able to do that without covering the others here but linking in to what WP has on them. It is the implications that often make an article right or wrong.Dave (talk) 17:12, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Concept of Near East[edit]

I researched the history of this concept under Near East and found considerable misunderstandings. Some of these were mine, as I possess the standard education also. As it is seldom too late to reform, and never too late to repent, I corrected this subsection, which now must be seen as a lead-in to the Near East article.Dave (talk) 14:33, 29 June 2011 (UTC)


Why is "Ancient" capitalized in "Ancient Near East" throughout the article? I don't see why it should be; see [4] for example. InverseHypercube 00:23, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Never mind. According to The SBL Handbook of Style For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies (p. 153), "Ancient" should not be capitalized, not in "ancient Near East" nor in "ancient Near Eastern". I will make the changes in the article. InverseHypercube 00:49, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Levant, Cyprus and Crete[edit]

I supose that Levant has a relation with Lebanon. Apart from that Cyprus and Crete are too far away from Palaistine, Israel and Syria. Secondly, the population of these islands was greek and not semitic, so there is no reason that these islands were included in Levant. --Περίεργος (talk) 05:54, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Only because Crete and Cyprus are not in the Levant we do not have to exclude them altogether. Considerable parts of the populations of the northern Levant were not Semitic either. The Pelasgoi/Peleset played an important role in shaping the cultural and political landscape of the ANE. And prior to 1200 BCE there were no "Greeks" anyways, but other Indoeuropeans. ♆ CUSH ♆ 09:40, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Firstly, I'm sorry about not seeing how you undid the page. I thought you really undid my edit (and include Crete and Cyprus in Levant). However, the issue remains. Is there any source that examines Cyprus and Crete as parts of ancient near east? --Περίεργος (talk) 10:14, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

First Big Time Edit[edit]

I rewrote the second paragraph of the lead for better readability. Hope it meets with approval. SereneRain (talk) 00:16, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

DEFINE YOUR TIME LIMITS - is prehistory part of ANE?[edit]

On this topic I'm just a regular user. The page does not define a time frame in the lead, just a geographical one, and that leaves users like me highly unsatisfied.

If you are dealing with prehistory just for offering a CONTEXT, then pls. write this explicitely. Thank you, Arminden (talk) 22:25, 15 February 2016 (UTC)Arminden

Para 1 of lead: "It begins with the rise of Sumer in the 4th millennium BC though the date it ends varies: either covering the Bronze Age and the Iron Age in the region until the conquest by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC or that of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC." Johnbod (talk) 03:55, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

John, hi. The confusing bit is that the article includes quite a lot about prehistory. It's either in (shouldn't - ?), or out, or if it's just helping with the wider context, then it should be clearly indicated. Agree? Cheers, Arminden (talk) 17:16, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

No, I don't see the problem. This term doesn't depend on literacy & it makes sense to include early pre-literate phases, which here were often quite sophisticated. Johnbod (talk) 18:43, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Aha. I thought it does depend on the appearance of literacy. Then back to square one: what DOES define it? It's not clearly stated. Why Sumer and not earlier Anatolian temple builders? Once I can read the lead and get an answer to this simple question, I'll stop annoying :-)

As long as the definition is not clear, there's no firm ground for the rest. Dates as such vary widely out there. I was just about to include the following in the article, but then I stopped waiting for more opinions:

Alternative definitions push the end of the era all the way until the Arab conquest of the Sasanian Empire and the eastern parts of the Byzantine Empire during the 7th century AD.[1]

Definition problem... The Parthian and Sasanian empires could be included, the Hellenistic civilisations maybe too, pushing the end date by a full millennium. The Met seems to include parts of the prehistory, too, but where is the limit? We cannot ignore this wide range of dates, but a few solid sources would close the issue.

Here an example: Brian A. Brown, Marian H. Feldman (editors; 2013). Critical Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Art. Ancient Near East at Google Books It goes by the current, "classical" time frame, but says that current research is pushing the starting date farther & farther back, and that Parthians and Sasanians are floating uneasily in a no-man's land between ANE and Islamic era. My whole point is: one gets confused bumping into contradictory sources, comes to WP for clarification - and finds that the ANE article, nice and systematic as it is, offers no clear definition, supports a rather conservative and undifferentiated view, and doesn't support it with sufficient sources. I just looked up the German WP article, and that is by far more elaborate [5]. They make a difference between the working domain of ANE archaeologists, ending with the fall of the Sassanian Empire (651 CE), and that of ANE historians, which is usually ending in ca. 332 BC, and for some with the fall of the Parthian Empire (early C3 CE). So I'm sorted, those who don't read German - less so. Cheers, ArmindenArminden (talk) 19:18, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

By all means add on the alternative end dates, but I don't think the article should cover these as fully. There is obvious sense in bring the coverage to a close at the same time for everywhere, and to describe Byzantine times with this term seems extremely odd to me - they hardly go well with the earlier periods. The Persians are rather left stranded, but this is the Western perspective; they really should go with Late Antiquity. Considerable imprecision is inevitable with these huge periods - I suggest you avoid looking at Middle Ages! Johnbod (talk) 21:04, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ [The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). Ancient Near Eastern Art. "The Museum's collection of ancient Near Eastern art includes more than seven thousand works ranging in date from the eighth millennium B.C. through the centuries just beyond the time of the Arab conquests of the seventh century A.D."]