Fertile Crescent Could Be Addressed As Both Essay

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Fertile Crescent could be addressed as both a geographical location and as symbolic terminology. Ultimately, both options unite to refer to the region in the Middle East also identified as the cradle of civilization. Stretching in the shape of an arc from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates, the region encompasses an ancient fertile land which is said to have stood at the basis of man's evolution. Nature's contribution to the evolutionary steps of humanity was rendered indefinite which is why ancient rites sought to prevent and otherwise control the unpredictable forces. Personifying natural phenomenon enabled mankind's link to the divine forces. For the Sumerians, fertility was not ensured by one single god or goddess, rather it came about as a cooperative result of all the forces of nature. Fertility rites often encompassed sexual rituals which were sought to bring about fertility of the land. Sexuality thus was religiously associated with abundance and it symbolized the unity of cosmic forces that secured renewal. While the woman was an expression of the goddess,
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the king is sought to have represented the fauna -- flora image of the world. Therefore, the male and the female were expressions of the cosmos, two representative components of the regenerative process. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, ?the savage man from the midst of the wild? (George, I 175, p. 7) who, ?with the gazelles he grazed on grasses? (George, I 175, p. 7) as a child of the ?wilderness, ? is tempted by the harlot so that ?his herd will spurn him, though he grew up amongst it. (George, I 185, p. 7) Subject to human metamorphosis, having lain with the harlot ?for six days and seven nights, ? Enkidu can be associated with the taming of nature. By uniting with the harlot, nature is thus tempered and civilization can continue its evolution. Enkidu, created as a counterpart for Gilgamesh, and the latter, as a symbol of civilization, are images of the interrelationship between the forces of nature and humanity. Enkidu's domestication through sexuality which is common unto man as well as unto…

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The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Andrew George (London, New York, Victoria, Toronto, New Delhi, Auckland, Johannesburg: Penguin Books, 1999).

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