Asyrien

Asyrien Saglute: Eine Fremdenlegion innerhalb der Armee

Das Assyrische Reich war ein Staat des sogenannten Alten Orients mit Ursprung im nördlichen, auch als Zweistromland bezeichneten Mesopotamien. Es existierte über einen Zeitraum von etwa Jahren, vom Beginn des Jahrhunderts v. Chr. bis zu. Assyrien (altgriechisch Ἀσσυριά, lateinisch Assyria) war eine antike Landschaft im nördlichen Mesopotamien, insbesondere am mittleren Tigris. Sie war das. Das Assyrische Reich war ein Staat des sogenannten Alten Orients mit Ursprung im nördlichen, auch als Zweistromland bezeichneten Mesopotamien. Vor fast Jahren kämpfte das Heer der Assyrer um die Vergrößerung seines Machtbereichs. Unter der Führung des Königs Sargon II. Geonim, Ehrentitel an Vorsitzende jüdischer Akademien verliehen im 6. bis zum Jahrhundert (in Babylonien, Asyrien und Kanaan); hervorragender.

Asyrien

Die Assyrer herrschten ungefähr über eintausenddreihundert Jahre – etwa von v. Chr. bis /10 v. Chr. – im Norden Mesopotamiens (heute Irak, Syrien. Vor fast Jahren kämpfte das Heer der Assyrer um die Vergrößerung seines Machtbereichs. Unter der Führung des Königs Sargon II. Assyrien (altgriechisch Ἀσσυριά, lateinisch Assyria) war eine antike Landschaft im nördlichen Mesopotamien, insbesondere am mittleren Tigris. Sie war das.

Tiglath-pileser I — BC proved to be a long reigning and all conquering ruler, who firmly underlined Assyria's position as the world's leading military power.

His first campaign was against the Phrygians and Kaskians in BC, who had attempted to occupy certain Assyrian ruled Hittite districts in the Upper Euphrates ; then he overran Commagene and eastern Cappadocia , and drove the Hittites from the Assyrian province of Subartu , northeast of Malatia.

In a subsequent campaign, the Assyrian forces penetrated into the mountains south of Lake Van and then turned westward to receive the submission of Malatia and Urartu.

In his fifth year, Tiglath-Pileser attacked Cilicia and Comana in Cappadocia , and placed a record of his victories engraved on copper plates in a fortress he built to secure his Cilician conquests.

The Aramaeans of northern and central Syria were the next targets of the Assyrian king, who made his way as far as the sources of the Tigris.

Leo Oppenheim translates as a narwhal in the sea. The general view is that the restoration of the temple of the gods Ashur and Hadad at the Assyrian capital of Assur Ashur was one of his initiatives.

Ashur-bel-kala — BC kept the vast empire together, campaigning successfully against Urartu and Phrygia to the north and the Arameans to the west.

He built some of the earliest examples of both Zoological Gardens and Botanical Gardens in Ashur, collecting all manner of animals and plants from his empire, and receiving a collection of exotic animals as tributes from Egypt.

Late in his reign, the Middle Assyrian Empire erupted into civil war, when a rebellion was orchestrated by Tukulti-Mer , a pretender to the throne of Assyria.

Ashur-bel-kala eventually crushed Tukulti-Mer and his allies, however the civil war in Assyria had allowed hordes of Arameans to take advantage of the situation, and press in on Assyrian controlled territory from the west.

Ashur-bel-kala counterattacked them, and conquered as far as Carchemish and the source of the Khabur river , but by the end of his reign many of the areas of Syria and Phoenicia-Canaan to the west of these regions as far as the Mediterranean, previously under firm Assyrian control, were eventually lost to the Middle Assyrian Empire.

The Middle Assyrian kingdom was well organized, and in the firm control of the king, who also functioned as the High Priest of Ashur , the state god.

He had certain obligations to fulfill in the cult, and had to provide resources for the temples. The priesthood became a major power in Assyrian society.

Conflicts with the priesthood are thought to have been behind the murder of king Tukulti-Ninurta I. The Middle Assyrian Period was marked by the long wars fought that helped build Assyria into a warrior society.

The king depended on both the citizen class and priests in his capital, and the landed nobility who supplied the horses needed by Assyria's military.

Documents and letters illustrate the importance of the latter to Assyrian society. Assyria needed less artificial irrigation than Babylonia, and horse-breeding was extensive.

Portions of elaborate texts about the care and training of them have been found. Trade was carried out in all directions.

The mountain country to the north and west of Assyria was a major source of metal ore, as well as lumber. Economic factors were a common casus belli.

All free male citizens were obliged to serve in the army for a time, a system which was called the ilku -service.

A legal code was produced during the 14th and 13th centuries which, among other things, clearly shows that the social position of women in Assyria was lower than that of neighbouring societies.

Men were permitted to divorce their wives with no compensation paid to the latter. If a woman committed adultery , she could be beaten or put to death.

It's not certain if these laws were seriously enforced, but they appear to be a backlash against some older documents that granted things like equal compensation to both partners in divorce.

The women of the king's harem and their servants were also subject to harsh punishments, such as beatings , mutilation , and death. Assyria, in general, had much harsher laws than most of the region.

Executions were not uncommon, nor were whippings followed by forced labour. Some offenses allowed the accused a trial under torture or duress.

One tablet that covers property rights has brutal penalties for violators. A creditor could force debtors to work for him, but not sell them.

In the Middle Assyrian Laws, sex crimes were punished identically whether they were homosexual or heterosexual. Such sexual relations were even seen as good fortune.

Furthermore, the article 'Homosexualität' in Reallexicon der Assyriologie states, "Homosexuality in itself is thus nowhere condemned as licentiousness, as immorality, as social disorder, or as transgressing any human or divine law.

Anyone could practice it freely, just as anyone could visit a prostitute , provided it was done without violence and without compulsion , and preferably as far as taking the passive role was concerned, with specialists.

That there was nothing religiously amiss with homosexual love between men is seen by the fact that they prayed for divine blessing on it.

It seems clear that the Mesopotamians saw nothing wrong in homosexual acts between consenting adults". Assyria and its empire were not unduly affected by these tumultuous events for some years, perhaps the only ancient power that was not, and in fact thrived for most of the period.

However, upon the death of Ashur-bel-kala in BC, Assyria went into a comparative decline for the next or so years.

The empire shrank significantly, and by BC Assyria appears to have controlled only areas close to Assyria itself, essential to keeping trade routes open in eastern Aramea, South Eastern Asia Minor, central Mesopotamia and north western Iran.

New West Semitic-speaking peoples such as the Arameans and Suteans moved into areas to the west and south of Assyria, including overrunning much of Babylonia to the south, Indo-European speaking Iranic peoples such as the Medes , Persians , Sarmatians and Parthians moved into the lands to the east of Assyria, displacing the native Kassites and Gutians and pressuring Elam and Mannea all of which ancient non-Indo-European civilisations of Ancient Iran , and to the north in Asia Minor the Phrygians overran that part of the Hittites not already destroyed by Assyria, and Lydia emerged, a new Hurrian state named Urartu arose in the Caucasus , and Cimmerians , Colchians Georgians and Scythians around the Black Sea and Caucasus.

Despite the apparent weakness of Assyria in comparison to its former might, at heart it in fact remained a solid, well defended nation whose warriors were the best in the world.

Assyrian kings during this period appear to have adopted a policy of maintaining and defending a compact, secure nation and satellite colonies immediately surrounding it, and interspersed this with sporadic punitive raids and invasions of neighbouring territories when the need arose, including campaigning as far as the Mediterranean and sacking Babylonia.

Assyria is often noted for its brutality and cruelty during this period, although Assyrian harshness was reserved solely for those who took up arms against the Assyrian king, and none of the Assyrian kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire or preceding Middle Assyrian Empire conducted genocides , massacres or ethnic cleansings against civilian populations, non-combatant men, or women and children.

He cleared Aramean and other tribal peoples from Assyria's borders and began to expand in all directions into Anatolia , Ancient Iran , Levant and Babylonia.

Ashurnasirpal II — BC continued this expansion apace, subjugating much of the Levant to the west, the newly arrived Persians and Medes to the east, annexed central Mesopotamia from Babylon to the south, and expanded deep into Asia Minor to the north.

Little further expansion took place under Shamshi-Adad V and his successor, the regent queen Semiramis , however when Adad-nirari III — BC came of age, he took the reins of power from mother and set about a relentless campaign of conquest; subjugated the Arameans, Phoenicians, Philistines, Israelites, Neo-Hittites and Edomites, Persians, Medes and Manneans, penetrating as far as the Caspian Sea.

He invaded and subjugated Babylonia , and then the migrant Chaldean and Sutean tribes settled in south eastern Mesopotamia whom he conquered and reduced to vassalage.

He created the world's first professional army , introduced Imperial Aramaic as the lingua franca of Assyria and its vast empire, and reorganised the empire drastically.

Not satisfied with merely holding Babylonia in vassalage, Tiglath-Pileser deposed its king and had himself crowned king of Babylon.

The imperial, economic, political, military and administrative reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III were to prove a blueprint for future empires, such as those of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Byzantines, Arabs and Turks.

Shalmaneser V reigned only briefly, but once more drove the Egyptians from southern Canaan, where they were fomenting revolt against Assyria.

Sargon II quickly took Samaria, effectively ending the northern Kingdom of Israel and carrying 27, people away into captivity into the Israelite diaspora.

He was forced to fight a war to drive out the Scythians and Cimmerians who had attempted to invade Assyria's vassal states of Persia and Media.

The Neo-Hittite states of northern Syria were conquered, as well as Cilicia. Lydia and Commagene. King Midas of Phrygia , fearful of Assyrian power, offered his hand in friendship.

Elam was defeated and Babylonia and Chaldea reconquered. He made a new capital city named Dur Sharrukin. He was succeeded by his son Sennacherib who moved the capital to Nineveh and made the deported peoples work on improving Nineveh's system of irrigation canals.

Nineveh was transformed into the largest city in the world at the time. Esarhaddon had Babylon rebuilt, he imposed a vassal treaty upon his Persian, Median and Parthian subjects, and he once more defeated the Scythes and Cimmerians.

Esarhaddon declared himself "king of Egypt, Libya, and Kush ". He installed native Egyptian princes throughout the land to rule on his behalf.

The Assyrian Empire was severely crippled following the death of Ashurbanipal in BC, the nation and its empire descending into a prolonged and brutal series of civil wars involving three rival kings, Ashur-etil-ilani , Sin-shumu-lishir and Sin-shar-ishkun.

Egypt's 26th Dynasty , which had been installed by the Assyrians as vassals, quietly detached itself from Assyria, although it was careful to retain friendly relations.

The Scythians and Cimmerians took advantage of the bitter fighting among the Assyrians to raid Assyrian colonies, with hordes of horse-borne marauders ravaging parts of Asia Minor and the Caucasus , where the vassal kings of Urartu and Lydia begged their Assyrian overlord for help in vain.

They also raided the Levant , Israel and Judah where Ashkelon was sacked by the Scythians and all the way into Egypt whose coasts were ravaged and looted with impunity.

The Iranic peoples under the Medes , aided by the previous Assyrian destruction of the hitherto dominant Elamites of Ancient Iran , also took advantage of the upheavals in Assyria to coalesce into a powerful Median-dominated force which destroyed the pre-Iranic kingdom of Mannea and absorbed the remnants of the pre-Iranic Elamites of southern[Iran, and the equally pre-Iranic Gutians , Manneans and Kassites of the Zagros Mountains and the Caspian Sea.

Nabopolassar , still pinned down in southern Mesopotamia by Assyrian forces, was completely uninvolved in this major breakthrough against Assyria.

Despite the sorely depleted state of Assyria , bitter fighting ensued; throughout BC the Medes continued to gradually make hard fought inroads into Assyria itself, scoring a decisive and devastating victory over the Assyrian forces at the battle of Assur.

This led to the unification of the forces ranged against Assyria who launched a massive combined attack, finally besieging and entering Nineveh in late BC, with Sin-shar-ishkun being slain in the bitter street by street fighting.

Despite the loss of almost all of its major cities, and in the face of overwhelming odds, Assyrian resistance continued under Ashur-uballit II — BC , who fought his way out of Nineveh and coalesced Assyrian forces around Harran which finally fell in BC.

The same year, Ashur-uballit II besieged Harran with the help of the Egyptian army, but this failed too, and this last defeat ended the Assyrian Empire.

Assyria was initially ruled by the short-lived Median Empire — BC after its fall. In a twist of fate, Nabonidus , the last king of Babylon together with his son and co-regent Belshazzar , was himself an Assyrian from Harran.

He had overthrown the short-lived Chaldean dynasty in Babylonia, after which the Chaldeans disappeared from history, being fully absorbed into the native population of Babylonia.

However, apart from plans to dedicate religious temples in the city of Harran, Nabonidus showed little interest in rebuilding Assyria.

Nineveh and Kalhu remained in ruins with only small numbers of Assyrians living within them; conversely, a number of towns and cities, such as Arrapkha , Guzana , Nohadra and Harran , remained intact, and Assur and Arbela Irbil were not completely destroyed, as is attested by their later revival.

However, Assyria spent much of this short period in a degree of devastation, following its fall. Between and BC, Assyria rebelled against the new Persian Dynasty, which had usurped the previous Median dynasty.

The rebellion centered around Tyareh was eventually quashed by Cyrus the Great. Assyria seems to have recovered dramatically, and flourished during this period.

It became a major agricultural and administrative centre of the Achaemenid Empire , and its soldiers were a mainstay of the Persian Army.

The Persians had spent centuries under Assyrian domination their first ruler Achaemenes and his successors, having been vassals of Assyria , and Assyrian influence can be seen in Achaemenid art, infrastructure and administration.

Early Persian rulers saw themselves as successors to Ashurbanipal , and Mesopotamian Aramaic was retained as the lingua franca of the empire for over two hundred years, and Greek writers such as Thucydides still referred to it as the Assyrian language.

Conversely the ancient city of Assur once more became a rich and prosperous entity. Five centuries later these were later to have a global influence as the liturgical language and written script for Syriac Christianity and its accompanying Syriac literature which also emerged in Assyria before spreading throughout the Near East , Asia Minor , The Caucasus , Central Asia , the Indian Subcontinent and China.

The Macedonian Empire — was partitioned in BC. It thereafter became part of the Seleucid Empire BC. It is from this period that the later Syria vs Assyria naming controversy arises , the Seleucids applied the name 'Syria' which is a 9th-century BC Indo-Anatolian derivation of 'Assyria' see Etymology of Syria not only to Assyria itself, but also to the Levantine lands to the west historically known as Aram and Eber Nari , which had been part of the Assyrian empire but, the north east corner aside, never a part of Assyria proper.

When the Seleucids lost control of Assyria proper, the name Syria survived but was erroneously applied not only to the land of Assyria itself, but also now to Aramea also known as Eber Nari to the west that had once been part of the Assyrian empire, but apart from the north eastern corner, had never been a part of Assyria itself, nor inhabited by Assyrians.

This was to lead to both the Assyrians from Northern Mesopotamia and the Arameans and Phoenicians from the Levant being collectively dubbed Syrians and later also Syriacs in Greco-Roman and later European culture, regardless of ethnicity, history or geography.

During Seleucid rule, Assyrians ceased to hold the senior military, economic and civil positions they had enjoyed under the Achaemenids, being largely replaced by Greeks.

The Greek language also replaced Mesopotamian East Aramaic as the lingua franca of the empire, although this did not affect the Assyrian population themselves, who were not Hellenised during the Seleucid era.

During the Seleucid period in southern Mesopotamia, Babylon was gradually abandoned in favour of a new city named Seleucia on the Tigris , effectively bringing an end to Babylonia as a geo-political entity.

These freedoms were accompanied by a major Assyrian cultural revival, and temples to the Assyrian national gods Ashur , Sin , Hadad , Ishtar , Ninurta , Tammuz and Shamash were once more dedicated throughout Assyria and Upper Mesopotamia during this period.

In addition, Christianity arrived in Assyria soon after the death of Christ and the Assyrians began to gradually convert to Christianity from the ancient Mesopotamian religion during the period between the early first and third centuries.

Assyria became an important centre of Syriac Christianity and Syriac Literature , with the Church of the East evolving in Assyria, and the Syriac Orthodox Church partly also, with Osroene becoming the first independent Christian state in history.

However, in , under Trajan , Assyria and its independent states were briefly taken over by Rome as the province of Assyria. The Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene was destroyed as an independent state during this period.

Roman rule lasted only a few years, and the Parthians once more regained control with the help of the Assyrians, who were incited to overthrow the Roman garrisons by the Parthian king.

However, a number of Assyrians were conscripted into the Roman Army , with many serving in the region of Hadrian's Wall in Roman Britain , and inscriptions in Aramaic made by soldiers have been discovered in Northern England dating from the second century.

With loose Parthian rule restored, Assyria and its patchwork of states continued much as they had before the Roman interregnum, although Assyria and Mesopotamia as a whole became a front line between the Roman and Parthian empires.

Other new religious movements also emerged in the form of gnostic sects such as Mandeanism , as well as the now extinct Manichean religion.

In , Assyria was largely taken over by the Sasanian Empire. After driving out the Romans and Parthians, the Sassanid rulers set about annexing the independent states within Assyria during the mid- to late 3rd century, the last being Assur itself in the late s to early s.

Christianity continued to spread, and many of the ethnically Assyrian churches that exist today are among the oldest in the world. Nevertheless, although predominantly Christian, a minority of Assyrians still held onto their ancient Mesopotamian religion until as late as the 10th or 11th century AD.

Temples were still being dedicated to the national god Ashur as well as other Mesopotamian gods in his home city, in Harran and elsewhere during the 4th and 5th centuries AD, indicating the ancient pre-Christian Assyrian identity was still extant to some degree.

Parts of Assyria appear to have been semi independent as late as the latter part of the 4th century AD, with a king named Sennacherib II reputedly ruling the northern reaches in s AD.

Centuries of constant warfare between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Empire left both empires exhausted, which made both of them open to loss in a war against the Muslim Arab army, under the newfound Rashidun Caliphate.

After the early Islamic conquests, Assyria was dissolved as an official administrative entity by an empire. Under Arab rule, Mesopotamia as a whole underwent a gradual process of further Arabisation and the beginning of Islamification , and the region saw a large influx of non-indigenous Arabs, Kurds , Iranian , and Turkic peoples.

However, the indigenous Assyrian population of northern Mesopotamia retained their language, religion, culture and identity.

Under the Arab Islamic empires, the Christian Assyrians were classed as dhimmis , who had certain restrictions imposed upon them.

Assyrians were thus excluded from specific duties and occupations reserved for Muslims, they did not enjoy the same political rights as Muslims, their word was not equal to that of a Muslim in legal and civil matters without a Muslim witness, they were subject to payment of a special tax jizyah and they were banned from spreading their religion further in Muslim-ruled lands.

However, personal matters such as marriage and divorce were governed by the cultural laws of the Assyrians.

For those reasons, and even during the Sassanian period before Islamic rule, The Assyrian Church of the East formed a church structure that spread Nestorian Christianity to as far away as China, in order to proselytize away from Muslim-ruled regions in Iran and their homeland in Mesopotamia, with evidence of their massive church structure being the Nestorian Stele , an artifact found in China which documented over years of Christian history in China from to AD.

The first signs of trouble for the Assyrians started in the 13th century, when the Mongols first invaded the Near East after the fall of Baghdad in to Hulagu Khan.

The Mongols in fact spent most of their time oppressing Muslims and Jews, outlawing the practice of circumcision and halal butchery , as they found them repulsive and violent.

However, the Mongol rulers in the Near East eventually converted to Islam. In spring , the Mongol Malik governor of the region attempted to seize it from them with the help of the Kurds and Arabs, but was defeated.

After his defeat he decided to siege the city. The Assyrians held out for three months, but the citadel was at last taken by Ilkhanate troops and Arab, Turkic and Kurdish tribesmen on 1 July The defenders of the citadel fought to the last man, and many of the inhabitants of the lower town were subsequently massacred.

Regardless of these hardships, the Assyrian people remained numerically dominant in the north of Mesopotamia as late as the 14th century AD, and the city of Assur functioned as their religious and cultural capital.

In the midth century the Muslim Turkish ruler Tamurlane conducted a religiously motivated massacre of the indigenous Christians, and entirely destroyed the vast Church of the East structure established throughout the Far East outside what had been the Sasanid Empire , with the exception of the St Thomas Christians of the Malabar Coast in India, who numbered 4.

Around years after the massacres by Timur, a religious schism known as the Schism of occurred among the Christians of northern Mesopotamia.

A large number of followers of the Church of the East were dissatisfied with the leadership of the Church, at this point based in the Rabban Hormizd Monastery near Alqosh , and in particular with the system of hereditary succession of the patriarch.

These did not have the rank of metropolitan bishop , which was required for appointing a patriarch and which was granted only to members of the patriarch's family.

In , he was killed by the Turkish authorities after being denounced by the traditionalist patriarch, but the metropolitans he had ordained elected a successor for him, initiating the Shimun line of patriarchs, all of whom took the name Shimun Simon.

The patriarchs of this line requested and obtained confirmation from Rome only until In they clearly broke off communion with Rome, but continued as a line of patriarchs independent from that at Alqosh, with their seat, from then on, at Qodchanis in the Hakkari mountains.

There is no record of a response from Rome confirming him as Catholic patriarch. Biblical Aramaic was until recently called Chaldaic or Chaldee, [] [] and East Syrian Christians, whose liturgical language was and is a form of Aramaic , were called Chaldeans, [] as an ethnic, not a religious term.

Hormuzd Rassam — still applied the term "Chaldeans" no less to those not in communion with Rome than to the Catholic Chaldeans [] and stated that "the present Chaldeans, with a few exceptions, speak the same dialect used in the Targum , and in some parts of Ezra and Daniel , which are called 'Chaldee'.

Thus was instituted the Josephite line, a third line of patriarchs. His successor Eliya XII, after sending his profession of faith to Rome and receiving confirmation as Catholic patriarch, adopted a traditionalist position in Although Yohannan Hormizd won the support of most of the followers of the Alqosh patriarchate, Rome considered his election to be irregular and, instead of accepting him as patriarch, merely confirmed him as metropolitan of Mosul and patriarchal administrator.

He was thus granted the powers and the insignia of a patriarch, but not the title. In , Eliya XI died and had no traditionalist successor.

Augustine Hindi died in and, in , Rome appointed Yohannan Hormizd as patriarch of all the Catholics.

The Shimun line, which had been the first to enter union with Rome, remained at the head of the traditionalist church that in adopted the name Assyrian Church of the East , [] [] [] and that continued to be in the hands of the same family until the death in of Shimun XXI Eshai.

At the same time, the originally traditionalist Alqosh line continues, without hereditary succession, at the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

After these splits, the Assyrians suffered a number of religiously and ethnically motivated massacres throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, [] such as the Massacres of Badr Khan which resulted in the massacre of over 10, Assyrians in the s, [] culminating in the large scale Hamidian massacres of unarmed men, women and children by Turks and Kurds in the s at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and its associated largely Kurdish and Arab militias, which greatly reduced their numbers, particularly in southeastern Turkey where over 25, Assyrians were murdered.

The Assyrians suffered a further catastrophic series of events during World War I in the form of the religiously and ethnically motivated Assyrian Genocide at the hands of the Ottomans and their Kurdish and Arab allies from to In reaction against Ottoman cruelty, the Assyrians took up arms, and an Assyrian independence movement began during the turbulent events of World War I.

For a time, the Assyrians fought successfully against overwhelming numbers, scoring a number of victories against the Ottomans and Kurds, and also hostile Arab and Iranian groups.

However, due to the collapse of the Russian Empire —due to the Russian Revolution —and the similar collapse of the Armenian Defense , the Assyrians were left without allies.

As a result, the Assyrians were vastly outnumbered, outgunned, surrounded, cut off, and without supplies.

The only option they had was to flee the region into northwest Iran and fight their way, with around 50, civilians in tow, to British train lines going to Mandatory Iraq.

The sizable Assyrian presence in south eastern Anatolia which had endured for over four millennia was thus reduced to no more than 15, by the end of World War I, and by many of those who remained were forcibly expelled in a display of ethnic cleansing by the Turkish government, with many leaving and later founding villages in the Sapna and Nahla valleys in the Dohuk Governorate of Iraq.

In the Assyrian settlements in Mindan and Baquba were attacked by Iraqi Arabs , but the Assyrian tribesmen displayed their military prowess by successfully defeating and driving off the Arab forces.

The Assyrian Levies were founded by the British in , with ancient Assyrian military rankings, such as Rab-shakeh , Rab-talia and Turtanu, being revived for the first time in millennia for this force.

The Assyrians were prized by the British rulers for their fighting qualities, loyalty, bravery and discipline, and were used to help the British put down insurrections among the Arabs, Kurds and Turcoman , guard the borders with Iran and Turkey, and protect British military installations.

During the s Assyrian levies saw action in effectively defeating Arab and Kurdish forces during anti-British rebellions in Iraq. After Iraq was granted independence by the British in , the Assyrians suffered the Simele Massacre , where thousands of unarmed villagers men, women and children were slaughtered by joint Arab-Kurdish forces of the Iraqi Army.

The massacres of civilians followed a clash between armed Assyrian tribesmen and the Iraqi army, where the Iraqi forces suffered a defeat after trying to disarm the Assyrians, whom they feared would attempt to secede from Iraq.

Armed Assyrian Levies were prevented by the British from going to the aid of these civilians, and the British government then whitewashed the massacres at the League of Nations.

Assyrians played a major role in the victory over Arab-Iraqi forces at the Battle of Habbaniya and elsewhere in , when the Iraqi government decided to join World War II on the side of Nazi Germany.

The British presence in Iraq lasted until , and Assyrian Levies remained attached to British forces until this time, after which they were disarmed and disbanded.

A further persecution of Assyrians took place in the Soviet Union in the late s and early s when thousands of Assyrians settled in Georgia, Armenia and southern Russia were forcibly deported from their homes in the dead of night by Stalin without warning or reason to Central Asia , with most being relocated to Kazakhstan , where a small minority still remain.

The period from the s through to was a period of respite for the Assyrians in northern Iraq and north east Syria.

The regime of Iraqi President Kassim in particular saw the Assyrians accepted into mainstream society. Many urban Assyrians became successful businessmen, a number of Assyrians moved south to cities such as Baghdad, Basra and Nasiriyah to enhance their economic prospects, others were well represented in politics, the military, the arts and entertainment, Assyrian towns, villages, farmsteads and Assyrian quarters in major cities flourished undisturbed, and Assyrians came to excel and be over-represented in sports such as boxing, football, athletics, wrestling and swimming.

However, in , the Ba'ath Party took power by force in Iraq, and came to power in Syria the same year. The Baathists, though secular, were Arab nationalists , and set about attempting to Arabize the many non-Arab peoples of Iraq and Syria, including the Assyrians.

This policy included refusing to acknowledge the Assyrians as an ethnic group, banning the publication of written material in Eastern Aramaic, and banning its teaching in schools, together with an attempt to Arabize the ancient pre-Arab heritage of Mesopotamian civilisation.

The policies of the Baathists have also long been mirrored in Turkey, whose nationalist governments have refused to acknowledge the Assyrians as an ethnic group since the s, and have attempted to Turkify the Assyrians by calling them "Semitic Turks" and forcing them to adopt Turkish names and language.

In Iran, Assyrians continued to enjoy cultural, religious and ethnic rights, but due to the Islamic Revolution of their community has been diminished.

In the aftermath of the Iraq War of , Assyrians became the targets of Islamist terrorist attacks and intimidation from both Sunni and Shia groups, as well as criminal kidnapping organisations; forcing many in southern and central Iraq to relocate to safer Assyrian regions in the north of the country or north east Syria.

Assyrian Bronze Age and Iron Age monuments and archaeological sites, as well as numerous Assyrian churches and monasteries, [] have been systematically vandalised and destroyed by ISIL.

Markourkas Church was destroyed and the cemetery was bulldozed. Assyrians in both Iraq and Syria have responded by forming armed Assyrian militias to defend their territories, [] [] [] [] and despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned have had success in driving ISIL from Assyrian towns and villages, and defending others from attack.

Dewkh Nawsha , which translates to "those who sacrifice", is a militia that was formed days after ISIL took over Mosul in The military force is made up of volunteers, who come from all over the Nineveh Plains.

It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of Iraqi Assyrians have fled. Assyrians who have fled have ended up all over the world. S Census Bureau survey, reported that roughly , have relocated to the United States.

Assyria continued to exist as a geopolitical entity until the Arab-Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century. Assyrian identity; personal, family and tribal names; and both the spoken and written evolution of Mesopotamian Aramaic which still contains many Akkadian loan words and an Akkadian grammatical structure have survived among the Assyrian people from ancient times to this day.

An Assyrian calendar has been revived. Emerging in Sumer c. Around BC, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller.

The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Akkadian , Assyrian , and Hittite languages.

Most of the archaeological evidence is typical of Anatolia rather than of Assyria, but the use of both cuneiform and the dialect is the best indication of Assyrian presence.

Assyrian was a dialect of Akkadian, a member of the eastern branch of the Semitic family and the oldest historically attested of the Semitic languages, which began to appear in written form in the 29th century BC.

During the 3rd millennium BC, a very intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and Akkadian-speakers, which included widespread bilingualism.

In the Neo-Assyrian period, the Aramaic language became increasingly common, [] more so than Akkadian—this was thought to be largely due to the mass deportations undertaken by Assyrian kings, [] in which large Aramaic-speaking populations, conquered by the Assyrians, were relocated to Assyria and interbred with the Assyrians, and due to the fact that Tiglath-pileser II made it the lingua franca of Assyria and its empire in the 8th century BC.

The destruction of the Assyrian capitals of Nineveh and Assur by the Babylonians, Medes and their allies, ensured that much of the bilingual elite but not all were wiped out.

By the 7th century BC, much of the Assyrian population used distinct Akkadian-influenced Eastern Aramaic varieties and not Akkadian itself.

The last Akkadian inscriptions in Mesopotamia date from the 1st century AD. The Syriac language also emerged in Assyria during the 5th century BC, and during the Christian era, Syriac literature and Syriac script were to become hugely influential.

However, the descendant Akkadian-influenced Eastern Aramaic dialects from the Neo-Assyrian Empire, as well as Akkadian and Mesopotamian Aramaic personal, tribal, family and place names, still survive to this day among Assyrian people and are spoken fluently by up to 1,, Assyrians, with a further number having lesser and varying degrees of fluency.

After 90 years of effort, the University of Chicago in completed an Assyrian dictionary, the style of which is more like an encyclopedia than a dictionary.

The Assyrians, like the rest of the Mesopotamian peoples, followed ancient Mesopotamian religion , with their national god Ashur having the most importance to them during the Assyrian Empire.

This religion gradually declined with the advent of Syriac Christianity between the first and tenth centuries. The original, polytheistic religion of the Assyrians was widely adhered to until around the 4th century, and survived in pockets until at least the 10th century.

Assyrians had begun to adopt Christianity as well as for a time Manicheanism and gnosticism between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD.

The tradition of the Church of the East is that Thomas the Apostle and his disciples Addai Thaddeus of Edessa and Mari brought Christianity to Mesopotamia , thus attributing to the first century the founding of the episcopal see of Seleucia-Ctesiphon , which became that Church's primatial see in There is clear evidence of the presence of Christianity in Osroene in the second century.

At that time, Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire , but were at peace under the expanding Persian Empire. Shapur I — , the second shahinshah king of kings of the Sasanian dynasty, occupied Roman territory, advancing as far as Antioch in , and deported eastward much of the population to strengthen the economy of his own empire.

One of those deported in was Bishop Demetrius of Antioch , who then became the first bishop of Beth Lapat. After , when Constantine the Great legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire, Christians in Persia came under suspicion of pro-Roman sympathies and were persecuted, especially under Shapur II — Under Yazdegerd I — the situation of the Christian minority improved considerably.

In , on the recommendation of several Western bishops the signatories included the bishops of Antioch , Aleppo , Edessa and Amid Yazdegerd called the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon , which organized the Persian Church after the model approved by the First Council of Nicea for the Church in the Roman Empire.

Persecutions and attempts to impose Zoroastrianism continued during the reign of Yazdegerd II. During the eras of Mongol rule under Genghis Khan and Timur , there was indiscriminate slaughter of tens of thousands of Assyrians and destruction of the Assyrian population of northwestern Iran and central and northern Iran.

Since the Assyrian genocide , many Assyrians have left the Middle East entirely for a more safe and comfortable life in the countries of the Western world.

As a result of this, the Assyrian population in the Middle East has decreased dramatically. As of today there are more Assyrians in the diaspora than in their homeland.

The largest Assyrian diaspora communities are found in Sweden , , [] Germany , , [] the United States 80, , [] and in Australia 46, By ethnic percentage, the largest Assyrian diaspora communities are located in Södertälje in Stockholm County , Sweden , and in Fairfield City in Sydney , Australia , where they are the leading ethnic group in the suburbs of Fairfield , Fairfield Heights , Prairiewood and Greenfield Park.

In Paris , France , the commune of Sarcelles has a small number of Assyrians. Assyrians in the Netherlands mainly live in the east of the country, in the province of Overijssel.

More recently, Syrian Assyrians are growing in size in Sydney after a huge influx of new arrivals in , who were granted asylum under the Federal Government 's special humanitarian intake.

Assyrians of the Middle East and diaspora employ different terms for self-identification based on conflicting beliefs in the origin and identity of their respective communities.

During the 19th century English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard believed that the Syriac Christian communities were descended from the ancient Assyrians, a view that was also shared by William Ainger Wigram.

In addition, Western media often makes no mention of any ethnic identity of the Christian people of the region and simply call them Christians, [] Iraqi Christians , Iranian Christians , Syrian Christians , and Turkish Christians , a label rejected by Assyrians.

As early as the 8th century BC Luwian and Cilician subject rulers referred to their Assyrian overlords as Syrian , a western Indo-European corruption of the original term Assyrian.

The Greeks used the terms "Syrian" and "Assyrian" interchangeably to indicate the indigenous Arameans , Assyrians and other inhabitants of the Near East, Herodotus considered "Syria" west of the Euphrates.

This version of the name took hold in the Hellenic lands to the west of the old Assyrian Empire, thus during Greek Seleucid rule from BC the name Assyria was altered to Syria , and this term was also applied to Aramea to the west which had been an Assyrian colony, and from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant.

It is from this period that the Syrian vs Assyrian controversy arises. Today it is accepted by the majority of scholars that the Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian term Syriac when used to describe the indigenous Christians of Mesopotamia and its immediate surrounds in effect means Assyrian.

The question of ethnic identity and self-designation is sometimes connected to the scholarly debate on the etymology of "Syria".

Syria being a Greek corruption of Assyria. Originally published by Tekoglu and Lemaire , [] it was more recently the subject of a paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies , in which the author, Robert Rollinger, lends support to the age-old debate of the name "Syria" being derived from "Assyria" see Etymology of Syria.

The object on which the inscription is found is a monument belonging to Urikki, vassal king of Hiyawa i. In this monumental inscription, Urikki made reference to the relationship between his kingdom and his Assyrian overlords.

The modern terminological problem goes back to colonial times, but it became more acute in , when with the independence of Syria, the adjective Syrian referred to an independent state.

The controversy isn't restricted to exonyms like English "Assyrian" vs. Assyrian culture is largely influenced by Christianity.

Main festivals occur during religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. There are also secular holidays such as Kha b-Nisan vernal equinox.

Others are greeted with a handshake with the right hand only; according to Middle Eastern customs, the left hand is associated with evil.

Similarly, shoes may not be left facing up, one may not have their feet facing anyone directly, whistling at night is thought to waken evil spirits, etc.

Assyrians are endogamous , meaning they generally marry within their own ethnic group, although exogamous marriages are not perceived as a taboo, unless the foreigner is of a different religious background, especially a Muslim.

Therefore, mixed marriage between Assyrians and Armenians is quite common, most notably in Iraq , Iran , and as well as in the diaspora with adjacent Armenian and Assyrian communities.

The Neo-Aramaic languages, which are in the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family , ultimately descend from Late Old Eastern Aramaic , the lingua franca in the later phase of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which displaced the East Semitic Assyrian dialect of Akkadian and Sumerian.

Aramaic was the language of commerce, trade and communication and became the vernacular language of Assyria in classical antiquity. To the native speaker, "Syriac" is usually called Surayt , Soureth , Suret or a similar regional variant.

Minority dialects include Senaya and Bohtan Neo-Aramaic , which are both near extinction. All are classified as Neo-Aramaic languages and are written using Syriac script , a derivative of the ancient Aramaic script.

Therefore, these "languages" would generally be considered to be dialects of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic rather than separate languages.

The Jewish Aramaic languages of Lishan Didan and Lishanid Noshan share a partial intelligibility with these varieties. The mutual intelligibility between the aforementioned languages and Turoyo is, depending on the dialect, limited to partial, and may be asymmetrical.

Being stateless , Assyrians are typically multilingual, speaking both their native language and learning those of the societies they reside in.

While many Assyrians have fled from their traditional homeland recently, [] [] a substantial number still reside in Arabic-speaking countries speaking Arabic alongside the Neo-Aramaic languages [] [1] [3] [] and is also spoken by many Assyrians in the diaspora.

The most commonly spoken languages by Assyrians in the diaspora are English , German and Swedish. Many loanwords from the aforementioned languages also exist in the Neo-Aramaic languages, with the Iranian languages and Turkish being the greatest influences overall.

Only Turkey is reported to be experiencing a population increase of Assyrians in the four countries constituting their historical homeland, largely consisting of Assyrian refugees from Syria and a smaller number of Assyrians returning from the diaspora in Europe.

Assyrians predominantly use the Syriac script, which is written from right to left. It is one of the Semitic abjads directly descending from the Aramaic alphabet and shares similarities with the Phoenician , Hebrew and the Arabic alphabets.

The vowel sounds are supplied either by the reader's memory or by optional diacritic marks. Syriac is a cursive script where some, but not all, letters connect within a word.

It was used to write the Syriac language from the 1st century AD. Furthermore, for practical reasons, Assyrian people would also use the Latin alphabet , especially in social media.

While Assyrians are predominantly Christian, an echoing minority, particularly those raised in the west , tend to be irreligious or atheistic in nature.

Many members of the following churches consider themselves Assyrian. Ethnic identities are often deeply intertwined with religion, a legacy of the Ottoman Millet system.

The group is traditionally characterized as adhering to various churches of Syriac Christianity and speaking Neo-Aramaic languages.

It is subdivided into:. After a death, a gathering is held three days after burial to celebrate the ascension to heaven of the dead person, as of Jesus ; after seven days another gathering commemorates their death.

A close family member wears only black clothes for forty days and nights, or sometimes a year, as a sign of mourning. During the "Seyfo" genocide, there were a number of Assyrians who converted to Islam.

They reside in Turkey, and practice Islam but still retain their identity. Assyrian music is a combination of traditional folk music and western contemporary music genres, namely pop and soft rock , but also electronic dance music.

Instruments traditionally used by Assyrians include the zurna and davula , but has expanded to include guitars, pianos, violins, synthesizers keyboards and electronic drums , and other instruments.

Assyrian artists that traditionally sing in other languages include Melechesh , Timz and Aril Brikha.

Assyrian-Australian band Azadoota performs its songs in the Assyrian language whilst using a western style of instrumentation. The first international Aramaic Music Festival was held in Lebanon in August for Assyrian people internationally.

Assyrians have numerous traditional dances which are performed mostly for special occasions such as weddings. Assyrian dance is a blend of both ancient indigenous and general Near Eastern elements.

Assyrian folk dances are mainly made up of circle dances that are performed in a line, which may be straight, curved, or both — The most common form of Assyrian folk dance is khigga , which is routinely danced as the bride and groom are welcomed into the wedding reception.

Most of the circle dances allow unlimited number of participants, with the exception of the Sabre Dance , which require three at most.

Assyrian dances would vary from weak to strong, depending on the mood and tempo of a song. Assyrian festivals tend to be closely associated with their Christian faith, of which Easter is the most prominent of the celebrations.

During Lent , Assyrians are encouraged to fast for 50 days from meat and any other foods which are animal based. Assyrians celebrate a number of festivals unique to their culture and traditions as well as religious ones:.

Assyrians also practice unique marriage ceremonies. The rituals performed during weddings are derived from many different elements from the past 3, years.

An Assyrian wedding traditionally lasted a week. Today, weddings in the Assyrian homeland usually last 2—3 days; in the Assyrian diaspora they last 1—2 days.

Assyrian clothing varies from village to village. Clothing is usually blue, red, green, yellow, and purple; these colors are also used as embroidery on a white piece of clothing.

Decoration is lavish in Assyrian costumes, and sometimes involves jewellery. The conical hats of traditional Assyrian dress have changed little over millennia from those worn in ancient Mesopotamia, and until the 19th and early 20th centuries the ancient Mesopotamian tradition of braiding or platting of hair, beards and moustaches was still commonplace.

Assyrian cuisine is similar to other Middle Eastern cuisines and is rich in grains, meat, potato, cheese, bread and tomatoes.

Typically, rice is served with every meal, with a stew poured over it. Tea is a popular drink, and there are several dishes of desserts, snacks, and beverages.

Alcoholic drinks such as wine and wheat beer are organically produced and drunk. Late 20th century DNA analysis conducted by Cavalli-Sforza , Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza, "shows that Assyrians have a distinct genetic profile that distinguishes their population from any other population.

In a study of the Y chromosome DNA of six regional Armenian populations, including, for comparison, Assyrians and Syrians , researchers found that, "the Semitic populations Assyrians and Syrians are very distinct from each other according to both [comparative] axes.

This difference supported also by other methods of comparison points out the weak genetic affinity between the two populations with different historical destinies.

In a study focusing on the genetics of Marsh Arabs of Iraq, researchers identified Y chromosome haplotypes shared by Marsh Arabs, Iraqis, and Assyrians, "supporting a common local background.

According to the study, "contemporary Assyrians and Yazidis from Northern Iraq may in fact have a stronger continuity with the original genetic stock of the Mesopotamian people, which possibly provided the basis for the ethnogenesis of various subsequent Near Eastern populations".

According to a study by Lashgary et al. Haplogroup J2 has been measured at Media related to Assyrian people at Wikimedia Commons.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ethnic group indigenous to the Near East. Main article: History of the Assyrian people. Further information: Muslim conquest of Persia.

Main articles: Assyrian Genocide and Assyrian struggle for independence. Main articles: Assyrian exodus from Iraq and attacks on Christians in Mosul.

Main article: Assyrian Diaspora. See also: List of Assyrian settlements and Assyrian population by country.

Further information: Assyrian nationalism , Arabization , Turkification , and Kurdification. Main article: Names of Syriac Christians. Main article: Assyrian culture.

Main article: Neo-Aramaic languages. Main article: Syriac alphabet. Main article: Syriac Christianity. Main article: Assyrian folk dance.

Main article: Assyrian clothing. Main article: Assyrian cuisine. Further information: Genetic history of the Near East.

Christianity portal. In Kurian, George Thomas ed. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. Retrieved 6 June Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.

January 19, Retrieved July 31, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization: yearbook. Palo Alto Weekly. Open Doors. Shlama Foundation.

Assyrian Policy Institute. Retrieved 18 February Archived from the original on 12 February Archived from the original on Retrieved SVT Nyheter in Swedish.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 9 July Retrieved 27 June Retrieved 11 February SBS Assyrian. Athens News. Retrieved 7 April Retrieved October 12, Statistics New Zealand.

Retrieved 13 March Retrieved 23 July Kristeligt Dagblad in Danish. Retrieved 31 March The Astana Times.

Retrieved 24 June Schaefer, Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society, p. Steven L. John A. Leo Oppenheim Ancient Mesopotamia PDF.

The University of Chicago Press. Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. The Christian Post. Archived from the original on 8 December Christian World News.

Max Mallowan. Oxford University Press US. Retrieved 29 May Retrieved 16 December Simo Parpola. These kingdoms perpetuated Assyrian cultural and religious traditions but were also receptive to Christianity, whose central ideas were in line with the central tenets of Assyrian religion and ideology, and which was felt as intrinsically Assyrian because of the Aramaic affinity of Jesus and the disciples.

Rosen Publishing. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Arabic literature to the end of the Umayyad period.

Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 20 January Continuum International Publishing Group. Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World.

Oxford University Press, , p. If you are searching for a word in Japanese Kanji dictionary and not receiving any results, try without Kana term in brackets.

If you are searching for a word in the Chinese dictionary and not receiving any results, try without Pinyin term in brackets.

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