Talk:Fertile Crescent

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There is a catastrophic failure in the wording at the start of this article. Unnatural fertility? What about it is even remotely unnatural. Who ever wrote that needs to be shot. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:14, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Nile Delta[edit]

According to the picture, the Nile Delta is part of the Fertile Crescent. --Brunnock 15:35, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

You mention in an earlier edit that you "added Egypt as Breasted had intended."

No, I did not. Please don't put words in my mouth. --Brunnock 19:11, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I did an image search for maps of the Fertile Crescent (on ones hosted at educational institutions) and found two camps; one including the Nile region, and one not. In the text accompanying some of the maps that did include the Nile valley, a statement was made to the effect of, "the Fertile Crescent often includes the Nile Valley."

Including Nile[edit]

[1] [2] [3] [4] ("Areas of greatest fertility")

This suggests that perhaps inclusion of the Nile Valley was an afterthought. Can you find a source documenting Breasted's intention to include the Nile Valley?

The map that's currently on the article includes Egypt. --Brunnock 19:11, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, look at James Henry Breasted. --Brunnock 19:21, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I see that the current map includes the Nile Valley in Egypt and that the page for Breasted includes the word Egypt. I was only making the point that many maps exclude Egypt, and I've been unable to find (on the Web) a direct quote from Breasted that indicates whether or not Egypt was included as part of his coined definition. Jasmol 19:33, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Also, what's wrong with including the names of modern countries whose territory includes the historical areas described? Jasmol 18:43, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

There's already a sentence in the article which describes the boundaries using current geographic terms. --Brunnock 19:11, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Question I wished this had answered: My perception of the Fertile Crescent area is that it is close to desert. If that is correct, why is it called "Fertile Crescent"? Was at some point the area much more lush & fertile than today?

The area within the Fertile Crescent is well-watered by major rivers and oases. It is characterised by a typically Mediterranean climate --- hot and dry in the summer, cooler and wet in the winter. It's not a desert, although it does border some more arid regions in Syria, Iraq and north Africa. Rattus 01:30, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Other problems with that map[edit]

In the depicted era of the fertile crescent the Tigris and Euphrates rivers joined at a delta that drained directly into the gulf. Huge amounts of sediment carried by those rivers over the centuries since then have driven the gulf shore southward, but the map should show the contemporaneous gulf northern shore.

It also claims to denote the "major civilisations" of the Fertile Crescent, but Mesopotamia is a region -- the CIVILISATIONS of which are Sumeria, Babylonia, etc. Phoenicia is also listed -- but Israel is not, despite that both would be the Iron Age remnants of the KANAANITE civilisation (amongst the PROTO-Kanaanites, we have Yarmoukian [earth's 1st planned streets = MAJOR civilisation], and the Hula Valley people = 1st controlled use of fire, 1st burial with pet animals, MANY of other "earth's firsts" = a MAJOR civilisation... Ashqelon = earths 1st ARCHES, by yet a DIFFERENT Chalcolithic culture, "stone circle submerged in Kineret" (google it) = earth's 1st stone henge...yes related to UK's Druidic henge cultures but from 10,000 years earlier than UK's to concurrent to UK's & sharing 3 major features (cupmarks, burials & astronomy) that UK's uprighted stones also have = yet ANOTHER cultural first on earth, proto-Kanaan also = earth's first ALPHABET and HENOTHEISM], and therein lies another problem:

if you list each MAJOR CIVILISATION instead of simply each REGION, are you going to list Akkadia in Mesopotamia, or Sumeria, or Babylonia, or neo-Babylonian, or... Basically, civilisation names CHANGED over the millenia, and this region has so many major civilisations who made advances, so I'd suggest showing only REGIONS (Levant, Upper/Lower Mesopotamia, etc), not CIVILISATIONS, or else you'd need way too much text on that map (or else a 10k by 10k pixel map, haha) to list all the major civilisations that inhabited it (ever since writing was developed to record each civilisation's names, there've been DOZENS of "major" civilisations i.e. ones who've made SIGNIfICANT advances). (talk) 17:48, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Arabic name.[edit]

Dear colleagues, why we cite arabic name in the head paragraph? Did James Henry Breasted derive this term from Arabic one? Dr Bug (Vladimir V. Medeyko) 12:22, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the Arabic translation isn't significant and should not be included in the article. The translation has no relation to the origin of Breasted's term and provides no benefit to the article. Readers interested in the Arabic language version should use the interwiki links to view the Arabic Wikipedia. --NormanEinstein 12:53, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree! 19:36, 9 May 2007 (UTC)


I have added a paragraph about biodiversity and ecology, which does much to explain some of the importance of the Fertile Crescent.

Regards John D. Croft 03:27, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Remove Egypt[edit]

Is there an objection to removing Egypt from this description? As mentioned above this was not part of Breasted's definition and is not the way this is commonly defined. It is perhaps appropriate to mention that some people define it this way but this should not be considered the "standard" definition.

--Mcorazao (talk) 05:27, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Certainly the fact that Breasted did not include Egypt when he coined the term is an argument to not include it in the article, at any rate the article should not unequivocally list Egypt, but if some uses that include Egypt can be cited, then perhaps it should be noted in the article that Egypt is sometimes included; though not always. Brando130 (talk) 18:45, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

History of term[edit]

OK, it's clear that Breasted coined it, and was using it by 1916. But can anyone tell me when (and where) he first used the term? --Iustinus (talk) 06:18, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Fertile Crescent Plan[edit]

  • As you know, there are many plans for Fertile Crescent: American invasion of Iraq, etc. This is an article about a region and its people, not everybody's plans.--Raayen (talk) 21:29, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
  • There are many panNationalistic ideas and proposals for unions. Should every country or region's article have a section for it?! Wikipedia would be a mess full of panNational ambitions.--Raayen (talk) 20:07, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

The Geography section is a mess[edit]

It seems like someone just wrote some stuff that sounded plausible to themselves. The "Many scientists believe ...extinct" part is just terrible. I've never read anything remotely suggesting that, and simply referring to "many scientists" is vague and very bad form. It is also factually incorrect. Just visiting the list of extinct plants, there are very few ones that went extinct around 10,000 years ago, the time concerned. The Holocene extinction event was primarily of big mammals, not crop plants. And its primary cause was human hunting, not climate change, a mistake that the article makes again in the very next paragraph. The section seriously needs some reworking. Punkrockrunner (talk) 03:17, 25 May 2009 (UTC)punkrockrunner


Cradle of civilization merge. should be in The Ancient Near East Portal? I can read, but I am bad at editing. Romanfall (talk) 04:40, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Let's get started[edit]

The fact that some material exists here gives the impression that the article has been started. Not so. It is quite open. We need to start completely over right from the top. There are certain obstacles to the imagination. One is those strange Danish tags at the top. What do we care? Most people do not read Danish. I don't see any Danes stepping up to translate the Danish or Norwegians the Norwegian articles. What are you trying to tell us? You'd like to see the article started? Thank you for your concern. It does not matter in the least what those articles say. They are only suggestions for some sources. One big problem is, we want our sources in English. So, let us thank the Danish and the Norwegian editors for their suggestions and totally ignore the tags. The article has not been started, is not going to follow the Danish or Norwegian articles. You Danes and Norwegians can work on it all you like just like anyone else provided your work is in good English. Don't hesitate. We're pretty good at fixing English. No one has any obligation or responsibility to use Danish or Norwegian material. As soon as they article is credibly started they can come out.

Second. The commentators are trying to criticize this "article" as some kind of finished product. Thank you for your suggestions and comments. We can consider those in developing this article. There is nothing here to criticize really. There is no obligation to "correct" anything. There is nothing to correct. There is nothing here. I would not even use the prose of the fill-in material. It is bad. So just ignore all those comments. Go right ahead, work up an outline, start the article. The commentators do give us a sense of a changing concept. This is not a fixed concept we are going to present. This will have to be a "history of the concept" type of thing. Get ready to do some Internet and library research.

Third. The language of the commentators. For some reason the English of the commentators is mainly broken. I do not know why this topic should attract the interest of so many foreigners. Well, welcome to the English WP. However, I would consider carefully if I were you whether your English is actually good enough for an English encyclopedia. If you can't really manage it then why not work on the WP in your native language instead of this? This is not a very painless way to learn English. I would not try to learn Danish by writing for the Danish WP. You need a non-judgemental context and this ain't it.

Fourth. Syrian nationalism. That has to go. Sorry. It is not mainstream. I never heard of it until this moment. The article to which it refers is totally unverified. But, let's say there is such a point of view. It is highly specialized and from the point of view of English, oddball. It should be in a subsection near the bottom not in the introduction. But of course there is no article, so how can it have a bottom?

Well I can appreciate your eagerness to see an article here. This is not it. The fact that all this critique of nothing at all exists undoubtedly holds anyone back from starting it. You commentators have expressed your various philosophies. Thank you. Why don't you back out now and let someone do the article? When something is there then you may critique it.Dave (talk) 09:20, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Merge what?[edit]

There is nothing here to merge. In any case I'm against. The Fertile Crescent is a concept from early archaeology. It innovators were under the impression that civilization started there and that agriculture started there. It was soon replaced by the notion of nuclear area. Today we know there have been multiple nuclear areas and multiple starts to civilization. It isn't one line of cultural descent. So, this article should be reserved for the historic concept. it can't really be expanded to cover the entire modern archaeological situation. Let's start with the origin and scope of the fertile crescent idea and depict its development. Then let's leave it there as an antique that did not live up to expectation, showing what went wrong and pointing to other articles.Dave (talk) 09:20, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Alps to the North[edit]

"The inner boundary is delimited by the dry climate of the Syrian Desert to the south. Around the outer boundary are the arid and semi-arid lands of the Alps to the North, the Anatolian highlands to the north, and the Sahara Desert to the west."

The Alps are in Europe. What is it supposed to say? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

I presume author(s) had the Caucasus Mountains in mind, not the Alps. Tdindorf (talk) 17:27, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Problem section[edit]

The modern-day North Caucasians (the Chechens, the Ingush, the Batsbi, and the people of Dagestan) have direct linguistic links to the Fertile Crescent.[3]

Linguistically, most languages in the region and in the Fertile Crescent itself are relatively recent arrivals. Now, however, linguist Johanna Nichols of the University of California, Berkeley, has used language to connect modern people of the Caucasus region to the ancient farmers of the Fertile Crescent. She analyzed the Nakh–Dagestanian linguistic family, which today includes Chechen, Ingush, and Batsbi on the Nakh side; and some 24 languages on the Dagestani side ... Thus location, time, and vocabulary all suggest that the farmers of the region were proto-Nakh–Dagestanians. "The Nakh–Dagestanian languages are the closest thing we have to a direct continuation of the cultural and linguistic community that gave rise to Western civilization," Nichols says.[3] ” The Ingush have the highest (89%) frequency of J2 gene, and the Chechens have 57% respectively. J2 is closely associated with the Fertile Crescent.[4]

This is a appalling academically. Having this , whilst entirely plausible and referenced to a respected scholar, is highly POV. It basically presents one scholar's opinion as a bibilcal fact, without further discussion, and the fact that many of J NIchol's linguistic conclusions have been questioned, and even abandoned by herself. Who has proved that Semitic was not indigenous to the region, nor that modern day Arabs do not have direct links to the anceint region either; or perhaps that none of the midern day populations are directly linked to the ancient civilizations.

This paragraph need to be either modified entirely, or it warrants removal due to the unacceptable level of bias which degrades the quality of the article. Slovenski Volk (talk) 10:08, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Kavkas (talk) 03:40, 4 June 2013 (UTC) Slovensky it is the referenced scientific materials it is not just Nichols who said it. Harpeding and Baranovsky also noted it.

The problem section lacks relevance to the subject Fertile Crecent as such, so I move it here: The modern-day North Caucasians (the Chechens, the Ingush, the Batsbi, and the people of Dagestan) have direct linguistic links to the Fertile Crescent.[1]

The Ingush have the highest (89%) frequency of J2 gene, and the Chechens have 57% respectively. J2 is closely associated with the Fertile Crescent.[2] The only fitting comment I see is "so what?", especially when one considers its placement directly after the lead.. -- Zz (talk) 21:35, 3 June 2013 (UTC) Kavkas (talk) 03:36, 4 June 2013 (UTC) It is important for the research. It is a lost link between past and present.

Your assertion is unclear. Could you please address the points made by Slovenski and me? -- Zz (talk) 13:14, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
"Linguistically, most languages in the region (Caucasus) and in the Fertile Crescent itself are relatively recent arrivals. Now, however, linguist Johanna Nichols of the University of California, Berkeley, has used language to connect modern people of the Caucasus region to the ancient farmers of the Fertile Crescent". Refers to the first peoples (Caucasians) who began the Fertile crescent civilization not the peoples who are relatively recent arrivals e.g. Semitic peoples, Persians etc. If it is not clear to you and slovenski, you can delete it. I don't mind. Kavkas (talk) 12:25, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, yes, I want to delete it. The section comes directly after the summary, an exposed place, and the quote alone does not support that the culture of the fertile crescent has been started mainly by people who spoke languages Caucasian languages. We must wait for scientific consensus. -- Zz (talk) 17:16, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) a.k.a. Science Journal from which the quotations were taken is not science? What scientific cosncensus? It is already a well established fact both linguistically and genetically, but I do see your political agenda which doesn't fit the "neutral" defenition. Kavkas (talk) 02:13, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
A user named "Kavkas" chides others for pursuing a political agenda? Nice deflection. Links between indigenous languages of the Caucasus and more southerly languages such as Hattic and Hurro-Urartian have been asserted for ages but with no compelling confidence, only the usual typological and soundalike comparisons which can be made to link any language family with any other because statistically there are always a few close similarities and a shipload of vague similarities, especially when you don't bother to reconstruct anything and just pick random words out of dictionaries (compare false cognate, which used to have a huge list now buried in the history), and ignore the requirement to compare bound morphology and irregular paradigms in particular, and rarely borrowed (usually functional) lexemes such as pronouns. (See also pseudoscientific language comparison.) It doesn't help that the indigenous languages of the Caucasus are relatively obscure, deeply known only to few experts and not particularly well researched overall, and Hattic and Hurro-Urartian are even more obscure and poorly known, so cranks and semi-cranks can claim a lot without fear of being called out and laughed out the room immediately. Sumerian is attested unambiguously at least since the early-mid 3rd millennium BC (not sure if we can tell confidently that the 4th-millennium materials are actually in Sumerian rather than some substratum, as pointed out by Gordon Whittaker, so I'll grant that), and per Proto-Semitic language, Semitic has been present in the Fertile Crescent at least since the 4th millennium BC. Elamite seems to have been present for a similarly long time. Calling these languages "recent arrivals" is ... odd. Same for the Caucasian languages (at least the three autochthonous families). Nakh-Dagestanian can be traced to the Kura valley in Azerbaijan; it may once have been spoken more southerly than the area between the Kura and Araxes rivers in Azerbaijan and Armenia, but that is speculation and there is no particularly compelling reason to think that an ancestral form has ever been spoken as far south as (say) Assyria. (I grant the possibility that ancestral forms of the three Caucasian families were once spoken somewhat further south in the Bronze Age, say, around the Lesser Caucasus, and that especially Georgia may have been Indo-European-speaking, as there are typological and lexical similarities of the Caucasian languages with Indo-European that might be easier to make sense of in such a scenario, but that's only a tentative suggestion that I would like to mention because scenarios where Indo-European languages were replaced with non-Indo-European ones – rather than the reverse situation, which is of course far more typical, but certainly not universal – in prehistory are usually not considered, even though there is evidence pointing to replacements of this kind having actually happened in areas such as Northeastern Europe.) The genetic evidence is not particularly probative as linking genes and languages is notoriously difficult. So, no, just because a hypothesis was seriously considered and published in a reputable journal makes it by no means the scientific consensus. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:53, 15 January 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Bernice Wuethrich (2000). "Peering Into the Past, With Words". Science. 288 (5469): 1158. doi:10.1126/science.288.5469.1158.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. ^ Oleg Balanovsky, Khadizhat Dibirova, Anna Dybo, Oleg Mudrak, Svetlana Frolova, Elvira Pocheshkhova, Marc Haber, Daniel Platt, Theodore Schurr, Wolfgang Haak, Marina Kuznetsova, Magomed Radzhabov, Olga Balaganskaya, Alexey Romanov, Tatiana Zakharova, David F. Soria Hernanz, Pierre Zalloua, Sergey Koshel, Merritt Ruhlen, Colin Renfrew, R. Spencer Wells, Chris Tyler-Smith, Elena Balanovska, and The Genographic Consortium Parallel Evolution of Genes and Languages in the Caucasus Region Mol. Biol. Evol. 2011 : msr126v1-msr126

Reference no 4 and 5 look wrong[edit]

These don't match what's in the text. --Dan Bolser (talk) 14:42, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Egypt is rarely part of the Fertile Crescent[edit]

As mentioned above at #Nile Delta, #Including Nile and #Remove Egypt, Egypt is not part of the Fertile Crescent. Certainly Breasted did not define it as such - look at his map in the first section of the article.

I will BeBold and remove it.

Oncenawhile (talk) 14:27, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

What do you think of the map found in the German article, File:Fruchtbarer Halbmond.JPG? Oddly, not even Sumer is included in the Fertile Crescent there. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:24, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Are there any other sources than just Breasted that says this? I am very concerned about making changes to the world's online encyclopedia because just one writer said so, even if he originally coined the name. What is the common usage today? William Harristalk • 02:07, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
In Guns, Germs and Steel, Diamond treats Egypt as decidedly separate from the Fertile Crescent, and with explicit reasons. I understand that he is not an outlier and the most common definition still does not include Egypt nowadays. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 15:54, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

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