Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ancient Mesopotamia

Since the advent of writing began in Mesopotamia and Egypt it is no wonder that the earliest genealogies are from this same area. One would not expect to find any valid genealogies in Western Europe during the same time period. What we do have - and what we will explore later - is legends and myths concerning the earliest inhabitants of Scandinavia, Britian and Ireland.

In Mesopotamia we find some genealogy linked to King Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 634 – c. 562 BCE) the Chaldean king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who is remembered from the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem's temple. The western world is familiar with him as being mentioned in the old Testament and is usually associated with removing the Jews from their homeland in Israel to Babylon.

According to the Bible, Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, then later encouraged the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and temple. This was done under Zerubbabel as mentioned in an earlier blog (genealogy Chart #2). Cyrus was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, whose genealogy is also in my database, but not shown in the accompanying chart. (I have many lines are in my genealogy but I don't intend on drawing diagrams or commenting on everyone.)

Cyrus had a daughter that married King Darius, the third king of the Achaemenid Empire, who is also famous in the Old Testament. An interesting note in Wikipedia: "The Achaemenid Empire during Darius' reign controlled the largest fraction of the world's population of any empire in history. Based on historical demographic estimates, Darius I ruled over approximately 50 million people, or at least 44% of the world’s population."

Darius' son, Xerxes and grandson, Artaxerxes, are also in my genealogy. Xerxes is likely the King mentioned in the Biblical Book of Esther. Artaxerxes married Andia, the great-granddaughter of King Nebuchadnezzar and their lineage continues through at least two directions as shown in the accompanying chart: the Kings of Armenia and the Seleucid Rulers who ruled the Near East shortly after the death of Alexander the Great.

Seleucus Nicator was the founder of the Seleucid Empire. His great-great-grandson, Antiochus Epiphanes is mentioned in the Apocrypha as the ruler who tried to force the Jews to abandon their religion, which inspired the  Maccabean Revolution mentioned in an earlier blog (Chart #2). Thus it seems that we have ancestors on both sides of historical issues - as has often been the case.

Also notice the line of descent through the Kings of Armenia under the Yervandian (or Orontid) Dynasty   and the following Artashesian (Artaxiad) Dynasty through Tigranes the Great under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic.


Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:


Here are some links to help you learn more:




Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.




Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

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