World Coin News

Syria- “where it all began”

Don’t they say geography is destiny?

I’m going to write about Syria for the next several articles, getting eventually to the coins. I started with the Wikipedia History of Syria, where I was reminded that this country contains several oldest in the world artifacts of human culture. I mean big, systemic artifacts like cities, metal work, and agriculture.

But there’s a discrepancy in my thought process. When I think earliest civilization (in the sense of “cities”) I think of Sumer and Akkad, located a few hundred miles east in what is now Iraq, and of mighty Egypt, which is way to the west in a different continent. Somehow, in my historical outlook, I overlook the place where it all started (at least on that side of Eurasia).

Syria. This is where it all, so to speak, began. A similar situation apparently occurs over in East Asia. There the earliest metal, etc. seems to be in Thailand and Vietnam, but all we ever hear about for the earliest civilization is China.

I grew up in New York. My parents took us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art often and I loved the ancient stuff as a kid. The more ancient the better. It was all Egypt and Mesopotamia, and then Greece and Rome, in that building. But, hey, the Middle East was even more complicated then than it is now. There were very large “second tier” kingdoms and empires that the big guys couldn’t, you know, destroy. They had to deal with them. There were also completely different ethnic and linguistic groups

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