One of the earliest and the most persistent themes that still appears in the history of the many peoples of Anatolia is their balancing between feuding with and tolerating each other. As a great world crossroads, the land has seen the struggles and the accomodations to each other of the Hattis and the Assyrians, the Sea Peoples, the Trojans and the Greeks, the Byzantines, the Crusaders and the Ottomans, the Russians, the Kurds, the Armenians and the Turks, to name only the most well-known. More than once the personal loyalties have been weighted more on the side of a desire for feuding, or for land, or for tolerance than they have been on the side of ethnic or religious identity. It is also important to remember when discussing the history in generalized survey that throught there have been enclaves of people – identified often not by themselves but by their enemies in terms of religion, language of family – who because of the very rugged topography have maintained their culture unresponsive to and ignored by whatever group claimed to rule the land.
Another major element in the long history is the importance of the trade router that made a network linking Anatolia to the East, to Egypt and to Europe. The roads usually followed the paths of least resistance; they went over the mountain passes, along the river valleys and across the safest fords. As fully as their builders builders were able to engineer them, they were all-weather roads; they often were elevated, high ways. They were politically important in that they were oart of the mechanism keeping a government in Rome or in Susa in touch with what was happening in Sardis, for example. They were important economically in enabling goods and services to move with dispatch. They were important tools in faciliting the communication of ideas. The spread of Christianity and later of Islam followed the trade routes. Regularly at about the distance that could be traveled in a day there was some kind of shelter for people and their animals to spend the night. Many of the towns and cities described in this book evolved as part of this system of roads, shelters, caravansaries, and marketplaces.
Besides the routes on land, people also used a relay of fire towers to communicate quickly over long distances. Crusader castles were sited on hilltops so as to be places of defense and alarm, and so as to be able to signal to each other. A complicated systemm linked the castle in Sis (Kozan) with Anavarza, Mamistra (Yakapınar/Misis), and Till Hamdoun (Toprak Kalesi), among others. Probably Yılankale and Hierapolis Castabala (Bodrum) were included in this circuit, but their medieval names are uncertain. In Istanbul, well into the 19th century the rulers watched the fire signals on Mt. Bulgurlu (Çamlıca) for current news of theirs farflung empire.
The Stone Age (c. 8000 – 4000)
Evidence of human habitation as early as about 400000 years ago has been found in caves on the lake of Küçük Çekmece near Istanbul. However, the earliest true settlements appear to be in Anatolia from the Stone Age beginning about 8000 B.C. This was the time wen people who used stone tools evolved from being hunters to becoming farmers. Up until then they had been food-gatheres; they had been at the mercy of the elements and the hunt. Afterwards they became food-producers, able with increasing skills to control more and more of their environment. This revolution is the critical division between primitive existence and culture; this marks the beginning of civilization. Before the Stone Age little evidence of human presence has been found by archaeologists beyond stone tools; before it came to an end the archaeological evidence is of a well developed artistic expression of formal religious thought and emotion. The Stone Age people accomplished the change in the remarkably short time of about 4000 years. But why it happened at this time and in this place no one knows for sure……