Page:Outlines of European History.djvu/92
and had become the Phœnicians (p. 137). By 2000 B.C. all these settled communities of the Semites had developed no mean degree of civilization, drawn for the most part from Egypt and Babylonia.
At the same time we can watch similar movements of the nomads at the eastern end of our fertile crescent (p. 56), along the lower course of the Tigris and Euphrates (Fig. 36). These two rivers rise in the northern mountains (see map, p. 56), whence they issue to cross the fertile crescent and to cut obliquely southeastward through the northern bay of the desert (p. 57). As the rivers approach most closely to each other, about one hundred and sixty or seventy miles from the Persian Gulf, they emerge from the desert and enter a low plain of fertile soil, formerly brought down by the rivers to fill a prehistoric bay like the Delta of the Nile. This plain is Babylonia, the eastern end of the fertile crescent.
- This distance applies only to ancient Babylonian and Assyrian days. The rivers have since then filled up the Persian Gulf for one hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty miles, and the gulf is that much shorter at the present day (see note under scale on map, p. 56, and see map, Ancient Times, p. 106).