The Origins of Agriculture

Euphrates, having nearly killed out the games upon which they had formaerly subsided, searching for nuts, berries, and roots, like the Epipalaeolithic inhabitants of Europe, and, being unable, like their western contemporaries, to live on clams and limpets, with an occasional oyster feast. Hungry and despondent they were at times driven, like the inhabitants of Queensland or Kordofan, to collect the seeds of wild grasses, until there arose a woman, who was to be their saviour and to lay the founations of civilization.

It was, we may well believe, about 5000 BC, or conceivably some centuries earlier, on the slopes of Mount Nysa, in Phoenicia, far away, that this woman collected the seeds of barley and of Emmer, which there grew wild, and scattered them upon a bare surface of the mountain side, where they were watered by the dew of Hermon that descended upon the mountains of Zion, so that the seed that she had cast upon the hillside she found increased a hundredfold after many days. This woman, one likes to think, was immortalized by the Egyptians as Isis, and as Cybele, Agdistis, and Dindymene by the peoples of Asia Minor, later by the Greeks as Demeter and by the Romans as Ceres. Her memory has been preserved almost to our own time by our country folk as the Corn Goddess, whose effigy was carried to the barn in the last harvest waggon.

From The Origins of Agriculture by Harold Peake 1928