Asōristān (Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭮𐭥𐭥𐭮𐭲𐭭Asōrestān, Āsūrestān) was the name of the Sasanian province of Babylonia from 226 to 637.[1][2]

Province of the Sasanian Empire

Location of Babylonia
Map of Asoristan and its surrounding provinces
Capital Ctesiphon
Historical era Late Antiquity
 •  Sasanian conquest 226
 •  First Muslim campaign 633
 •  Second Muslim campaign 637
Today part of  Iraq


The Parthian name Asōristān (𐭀𐭎𐭅𐭓𐭎𐭕𐭍; also spelled Asoristan, Asuristan, Asurestan, Assuristan) is known from Shapur I's inscription on the Ka'ba-ye Zartosht, and from the inscription of Narseh at Paikuli.[1] The adjective āsōrīg in Middle Persian accordingly means “Assyrian”.[1] The region was also called several other names: Assyria, Athura Bēṯ Aramāyē (Classical Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܐܪܡܝܐ‎), Bābēl / Bābil, and Erech / Erāq. After the mid-6th century it was also called Khvārvarān in Persian.

The name Asōristān is a compound of Asōr ("Assyria") and the Iranian suffix -istān ("land of"). The name Assyria, in the form Asōristān, was shifted to include ancient Babylonia by the Parthians, and this continued under the Sasanians.[3] The historical country of Assyria (Athura), however, lay to the north of Babylonian Asoristan, in the independent frontier province of Osroene.[4]


During the Achaemenid (550–330 BCE) and Parthian Empires (150 BCE – 225 CE), this region had been known by the Old Persian name Athura. Asōristān, Middle Persian "land of Assyria", was the capital province of the Sasanian Empire and was called Dil-ī Ērānshahr, meaning "Heart of Iran".[2] The city of Ctesiphon served as the capital of both the Parthian and Sasanian Empire, and was for some time the largest city in the world.[5] The main language spoken by the Assyrian people was Eastern Aramaic, with the local Syriac language becoming an important vehicle for Syriac Christianity. The Church of the East was founded in Asōristān.[6] Asōristān was largely identical with ancient Mesopotamia.[1] The northern border is somewhat uncertain but probably went along a line from Anta to Takrīt. Ḥīra was probably the southernmost point, the border then following the northern part of the swamps of Wasit.[1]

The Parthians had exercised only loose control at times, allowing for a number of Syriac-speaking Assyrian kingdoms to flourish in Upper Mesopotamia, the independent Osroene, as well as the districts of Adiabene and the partly Assyrian state of Hatra. The Sasanian Empire conquered Assyria and Mesopotamia from the Parthians during the 220s, and by 260 had abolished these city-states, with the 3000-year-old city of Assur being sacked in 256. Some regions appear to have remained partly autonomous as late as the latter part of the fourth century, with an Assyrian king named Sinharib reputedly ruling a part of Assyria in the 370s.

Between 633-8, the region was invaded by the Arabs during the Muslim conquest of Persia; together with Meshan, it became the province of al-ʿIrāq. Asōristān was devolved by 639, bringing an end to over 3000 years of Assyria as a geopolitical entity. A century later, the area became the capital province of the Abbasid Caliphate and the centre of Islamic Golden Age for five hundred years, from the 8th to the 13th centuries.

After the Muslim conquest, Asōristān saw a gradual but large influx of Muslim peoples; at first Arabs, but later also including Iranian and Turkic peoples.

The Assyrian peoples continued to endure, rejecting Arabization and Islamization, and continued to form the majority population of the north as late as the 14th century, until the religiously-motivated massacres of Timur drastically reduced their numbers and led to the city of Assur being finally abandoned. After this period, the Assyrians became the ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in their homeland that they are to this day.


The population of Asorestan was a mixed one, the north was composed mostly of indigenous Assyrians, while the ethnically and linguistically identical Babylonians lived in the south, Arameans and Nabateans dwelt in the far southwestern deserts, and Persians, Armenians, Jews and Mandeans lived throughout Mesopotamia.[1] The Greek element in the southern cities, still strong in the Parthian period, was absorbed by the Semites in Sasanian times.[1] The majority of the population were Assyrian people, speaking Eastern Aramaic dialects. As the breadbasket of the Sasanian Empire, most of the population were engaged in agriculture or worked as soldiers, traders and merchants. The Persians lived in various parts of the province; Persian garrison soldiers lived along the outer fringe of southern and western Asoristan, Persian noble families lived in the major cities, whilst some Persian peasants lived in the villages in the southern part.[7] They played a very active role in the province, and were found in the administrative class of society, as army officers, civil servants, and feudal lords.[1]


At least three dialects of Eastern Aramaic were in spoken and liturgical use: Syriac mainly in the north and among Assyrian Christians (the terms Syrian and Syriac originally being Indo-European derivatives of Assyrian), Mandaic in the north and then south and among the Mandaeans, and a dialect in the central region, of which the Judaic subvariety is known as Jewish Babylonian Aramaic. In addition, the native population spoke colloquial dialects of Akkadian infused and influenced Mesopotamian Eastern Aramaic, descended from the Imperial Aramaic introduced by Tiglath-pileser III as the lingua franca of Assyria and the Neo Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC. These dialects survive to this day among the modern Assyrians, with estimates ranging from 577,000 to 1,000,000 fluent speakers, with a far smaller number of speakers of Mandaic still extant.

Aside from the liturgical scriptures of these religions which exist today, archaeological examples of all three of these dialects can be found in the collections of thousands of Aramaic incantation bowls—ceramic artifacts dated to this era—discovered in Iraq. While the Jewish Aramaic script retained the original "square" or "block" form of the Aramaic alphabet used in Imperial Aramaic (the Ashuri alphabet), the Syriac alphabet and the Mandaic alphabet developed when cursive styles of Aramaic began to appear. The Mandaic script itself developed from the Parthian chancellery script.


The religious demography of Mesopotamia was very diverse during Late Antiquity. From the 1st and 2nd centuries Syriac Christianity became the primary religion, while other groups practiced Mandaeism, Judaism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and the ancient Assyro-Babylonian Mesopotamian religion.[8] Assyrian Christians were probably the most numerous group in the province.[8]

Mesopotamian religion

The old Mesopotamian religion of the indigenous Assyrians and Babylonians remained strong in places, particularly in the north, in Assyria proper. Temples were still being dedicated to Ashur, Shamash, Ishtar, Sin, Hadad and Ninurta in Assur, Arbela, Edessa, Amid, Nohadra and Harran among other places, during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and traces would survive into the 10th century in remote parts of Assyria.[9]


Asorestan, and particularly Assyria proper, were the centers for the Church of the East (now split into the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church), which at one time extended far beyond the confines of the by then defunct Sasanian empire and was the most widespread Christian church in the world, reaching well into Central Asia, China, Mongolia Tibet and India. It sees as its founders the apostle Thomas (Mar Toma), and Saint Thaddeus (Mar Addai), and used the distinctly Syriac version of Eastern Aramaic for its scriptures and liturgy. The Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari is one of the oldest Eucharistic prayers in Christianity, composed around the year 200 AD. The Church of the East was consolidated in 410 at the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, held at the Sasanian capital, Selucia-Ctesiphon, which remained the seat of the Patriarchate of the Church of the East for over 600 years.


The Mandaean religion, whose adherents according to their traditions are the original followers of John the Baptist, and who are considered to be the only surviving Gnostic group in the world, also originated in the region at this time (or slightly earlier during the Parthian era). Their language and script was the Mandaic form of Aramaic. Two of their central works, both written within the 2nd and 3rd centuries, are the Ginza Rabba and the Mandaean Book of John (preserving original traditions about John the Baptist). The Mandean population numbers no more than 50,000 to 75,000 today.


The religion of Manichaeism, founded by Mani (216–276), originated in 3rd century Asorestan, and spread across a vast geographical area. In some instances, Manichaeism even surpassed the Church of the East in its reach, as it was for a time also widespread in the Roman Empire. While none of the six original Syriac scriptures of the Manichaeans have survived in their entirety, a long Syriac section of one of their works detailing key beliefs was preserved by Theodore Bar Konai (a Church of the East author from Beth Garmaï), in his book Ketba Deskolion written in about 792. Like the Church of the East, the traditional center of the Manichaean church was in Seleucia-Ctesiphon.[10] Mani dedicated his only Middle Persian writing, the Shāpuragān, to Shapur I.


Babylonia remained the center of Judaism in the world. The major book defining Rabbinic Judaism, the Babylonian Talmud, was written in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic in Asorestan between the 3rd and 5th centuries. The Babylonian Talmudic academies were all established relatively near to Seleucia-Ctesiphon. The first Talmudic academy was founded in Sura by Rav (175–247) in about 220. One of the most influential Talmudic teachers, Rava (270–350), who was influenced by both Manichaean polemic and Zoroastrian theology, studied in another Talmudic academy at Pumbedita.


The Sasanian state religion, Zoroastrianism, was largely confined to the Iranian administrative class, and did not filter down to the Assyrian population.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "ĀSŌRISTĀN". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 15 July 2013. ĀSŌRISTĀN, name of the Sasanian province of Babylonia.
  2. ^ a b Buck, Christopher (1999). Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baháí̕ Faith. SUNY Press. p. 69. ISBN 9780791497944.
  3. ^ Panaino, Antonio C.D.; Pettinato, Giovanni (2002). Ideologies as Intercultural Phenomena. Melammu Project. p. 76. ISBN 9788884831071.
  4. ^ The Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. to the Present, Part 25. Richard Ernest Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt Dupuy. Harper & Row, 1970. Page 115.
  5. ^ Rosenberg, Matt T. (2007). "Largest Cities Through History". New York:
  6. ^ Khanbaghi, Aptin. The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran. I.B. Tauris. p. 6. ISBN 9781845110567.
  7. ^ Morony 2005, p. 181.
  8. ^ a b c Etheredge, Laura (2011). Iraq. Rosen Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 9781615303045.
  9. ^ Georges Roux - Ancient Iraq
  10. ^ Gardner, Iain; Lieu, Samuel N.C. (2004). Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire. Cambridge University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780521568227.



Aphrahat (c. 280–c. 345; Syriac: ܐܦܪܗܛ‎ Ap̄rahaṭ, Persian: فرهاد‎, Ancient Greek: Ἀφραάτης, and Latin Aphraates) was a Syriac Christian author of the third century from the Assyrian state of Adiabene in the Asōristān (Assyria) province of the Sasanian Empire who composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice. All his known works, the Demonstrations, come from later on in his life. He was an ascetic and celibate, and was almost definitely a son of the covenant (an early Syriac form of communal monasticism). He may have been a bishop, and later Syriac tradition places him at the head of Mar Mattai monastery near Mosul in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan. He was a near contemporary to the slightly younger Ephrem the Syrian, but the latter lived within the sphere of the Roman Empire. Called the Persian Sage (Syriac: ܚܟܝܡܐ ܦܪܣܝܐ‎, Ḥakkimā Pārsāyā), Aphrahat witnesses to the concerns of the early church beyond the eastern boundaries of the Roman Empire.


Arbāyistān (Parthian: 𐭀𐭓𐭁𐭉𐭎𐭈𐭍 [ʾrb]ystn, Zoroastrian Middle Persian: Arwāstān, Syriac: Bēṯ ʿArbāyē, Armenian: Arvastan) was a Sasanian province in Late Antiquity. Due to its situation and its road systems, the province was a source of income from commercial traffic, as well as a constant area of contention during the Roman-Persian wars.The province reached across Upper Mesopotamia toward the Khabur and north to the lower districts of Armenia; it bordered Adiabene in the east, Armenia in the north and Asōristān in the south. On the west, it bordered the Roman provinces of Osroene and Mesopotamia. The principal city of the Arbayistan province was Nisibis and it also included the fortress of Sisauranon.


Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant. It existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC (in the form of the Assur city-state) until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC - spanning the periods of the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BC (when the Neo-Assyrian state fell) to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East.A largely Semitic-speaking realm, Assyria was centred on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia (modern northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and the northwestern fringes of Iran). The Assyrians came to rule powerful empires in several periods. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Babylonia, Assyria reached the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time. At its peak, the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911 to 609 BC stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean to Iran, and from present-day Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and eastern Libya.The name "Assyria" originates with the Assyrian state's original capital, the ancient city of Aššur, which dates to c. 2600 BC - originally one of a number of Akkadian-speaking city-states in Mesopotamia. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC. After the Assyrian Empire fell from power, the greater remaining part of Assyria formed a geopolitical region and province of other empires, although between the mid-2nd century BC and late 3rd century AD a patchwork of small independent Assyrian kingdoms arose in the form of Assur, Adiabene, Osroene, Beth Nuhadra, Beth Garmai and Hatra.

The region of Assyria fell under the successive control of the Median Empire of 678 to 549 BC, the Achaemenid Empire of 550 to 330 BC, the Macedonian Empire (late 4th century BC), the Seleucid Empire of 312 to 63 BC, the Parthian Empire of 247 BC to 224 AD, the Roman Empire (from 116 to 118 AD) and the Sasanian Empire of 224 to 651 AD. The Arab Islamic conquest of the area in the mid-seventh century finally dissolved Assyria (Assuristan) as a single entity, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people (by now Christians) gradually became an ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious minority in the Assyrian homeland, surviving there to this day as an indigenous people of the region.


Assyrian Canadians are Canadians of Assyrian descent or Assyrians who have Canadian citizenship. According to the 2011 Census there were 10,810 Canadians who claimed Assyrian ancestry, an increase compared to the 8,650 in the 2006 Census.They are the indigenous pre-Arab and pre-Turkic people of Northern Iraq, southeast Turkey, northeastern Syria, and northwest Iran, who speak dialects of Eastern Aramaic and are mainly Christian, although some are irreligious. Although most come from the aforementioned countries, many Assyrians have immigrated to Canada from Jordan, Georgia and Armenia as well.

Assyrian Evangelical Church

The Assyrian Evangelical Church is a Presbyterian church in the Middle East that attained a status of ecclesiastical independence from the Presbyterian mission in Iran in 1870.Its members are predominantly ethnic Assyrians, an Eastern Aramaic speaking Semitic people who are indigenous to Upper Mesopotamia (what had been Assyria between the 25th century BCE and 7th century CE), and descendants of the ancient Assyrians. (see Assyria, Assyrian continuity and Assyrian people).

Most Assyrian Evangelicals (as well as members of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church) had initially been members of the Assyrian Church of the East, its later 18th century offshoot; the Chaldean Catholic Church, or the Syriac Orthodox Church, before conversion to Protestantism. The vast majority of ethnic Assyrians remain adherents of these ancient Eastern Rite churches to this day.

There are several Assyrian Evangelical churches in the diaspora, e.g. in San Jose, Turlock, and Chicago.

In 2010, one of its Iranian pastors was arrested in Kermanshah and detained for 54 days for allegedly attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Assyrian population by country

This is a list of Assyrian populations by country according to official and estimated numbers.

Assyrians in Finland

The Assyrians in Finland comprises migrants of Assyrian ancestry and their descendants born in Finland.

Assyrians in Greece

Assyrians in Greece include migrants of Assyrian descent living in Greece. The number of Assyrians in Greece is estimated at around 6,000 people.

Assyrians in Israel

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Assyrians in Israel (Syriac: ܐܬܘܪܝܐ ܒܝܫܪܐܠ‎) include migrants of Assyrian origin residing in Israel, as well as their descendants.

Assyrians in Jordan

Assyrians in Jordan include migrants of Assyrian origin residing in Jordan, as well as their descendants. As of May 2007, the Assyrians in Jordan number approximately 1,000 people and most of them came as refugees from northern Iraq, one of the four locations of the indigenous Assyrian homeland areas which are part of today's northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and, more recently, northeastern Syria". They mostly live within the capital city of Amman. Most adhere to the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syriac Orthodox Church.

Assyrians in Russia

Assyrians in Russia number from 14,000 (according to the 2002 census) up to 70,000.


The Elcesaites, Elkasaites, Elkesaites or Elchasaites were an ancient Jewish Christian sect in Lower Mesopotamia, then the province of Asōristān in the Sasanian Empire.

The name of the sect derives from the alleged founder: Elkhasaí (Koinē Greek: Ἠλχασαΐ in Hippolytus), Elksai (Ἠλξαί) in Epiphanius), or Elkesai (Ελκεσαΐ in Eusebius, and Theodoret). The sect is believed to be a faction of the Ebionites and was identified by early writers with the Sabians.


Erbil, also spelled Arbil (Kurdish: ھەولێر / Hewlêr‎), locally called Hewlêr by the Kurds, is the capital city of Kurdistan and the most populated city in the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iraq. It is located approximately in the center of Iraqi Kurdistan region and north of Iraq. It has about 850,000 inhabitants, and Erbil governorate has a permanent population of 2,009,367 as of 2015.Human settlement at Erbil can be dated back to possibly 5th millennium BC, and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world. At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil. The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. The city was later conquered by the Assyrians.Erbil became an integral part of the kingdom of Assyria by at least the 21st century BC through to the end of the seventh century BC, after it was captured by the Gutians, and it was known in Assyrian annals variously as Urbilim, Arbela and Arba-ilu. After this it was part of the geopolitical province of Assyria under several empires in turn, including the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire (Achaemenid Assyria), Macedonian Empire, Seleucid Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Assyria and Sasanian Empire (Asōristān), as well as being the capital of the tributary state of Adiabene between the mid-second century BC and early second century AD.

Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, it no longer remained a unitary region, and during the Middle Ages, the city came to be ruled by the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.Erbil's archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamia, and is a center for archaeological projects in the area. The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism. In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site.

The city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds (the majority ethnic group), Armenians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs, Arabs, Iraqi Turkmens, Yezidis, Shabakis and Mandaeans. It is equally religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christianity (mainly followed by Chaldeans and Armenians), Yezidism, Yarsanism, Shabakism and Mandaeism extant in and around Erbil.


Hakkari (Syriac: ܚܟܐܪܝ‎ Ḥakkāri, or ܗܟܐܪܝ Hakkāri, Kurdish: Colemêrg‎) was a mountainous Assyrian region lying to the south of Lake Van which encompassed parts of the modern provinces of Hakkâri and Şırnak in southeastern Turkey, and the northern fringes of Iraq, and contained dozens of historical Assyrian villages that were primarily centred in the modern-day towns of Yuksekova, Hakkâri, Çukurca, Semdinli and Uludere. Most of the historical Assyrian tribes were situated in Hakkari, with many Assyrians having lived there prior to 1924, or before Seyfo. The name Hakkâri is derived from the Syriac word ܐܲܟܵܪܹ̈ܐ (Akkārē) meaning farmers or cultivators.Hakkari was purely made up of Assyrian settlements from around 2nd millennium BC, perhaps as far back as 3rd millennium BC, to the early 20th century AD – When Assyrians eventually resettled in Northern Iraq (which simultaneously had other Assyrians since ancient times, including Catholic-Assyrians) after they were displaced, slaughtered and driven out by Ottoman Turks in 1915. The Assyrians of Hakkari are Nestorian Christians adhering to the Assyrian Church of the East and they speak Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, a modern Aramaic language. Before Christianisation, the native population spoke colloquial dialects of Akkadian infused and influenced Mesopotamian Eastern Aramaic, descended from the Imperial Aramaic introduced by Tiglath-pileser III as the lingua franca of Assyria and the Neo Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC.Historically, Hakkari was one of the most northernmost Assyrian settlement in the Akkadian empire, the Neo-Assyrian empire, Achaemenid Assyria, Asōristān and Roman Assyria. The region was dissolved as a geo-political entity following the Arab Islamic conquest of Iraq in the late 7th century AD. Asōristān was devolved by 639 AD, bringing an end to over 3000 years of Assyria as a geopolitical entity. A century later, the area became the capital province of the Abbasid Caliphate and the centre of Islamic Golden Age for five hundred years, from the 8th to the 13th centuries. After the Muslim conquest, Asōristān saw a gradual but large influx of Muslim peoples; at first Arabs, but later also including Iranian and Turkic peoples. Hakkari formed the Nairi lands which served as the northern Assyrian frontier and border with their Urartian rivals. During the late Ottoman Empire it was a sanjak within the old Vilayet of Van.

Hértevin language

The Hértevin language is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. It was originally spoken in a cluster of villages in Siirt Province in southeastern Turkey. Speakers of Hértevin Aramaic have emigrated mostly to the West, and are now scattered and isolated from one another. A few speakers remain in Turkey.

Name of Syria

The name Syria is latinized from the (Greek Συρία Suría).

Herodotus used it loosely to refer to Cappadocia.

In Greek usage, Συρία Suría and Ασσυρία Assuría were used almost interchangeably, but in the Roman Empire, Syria and Assyria came to be used as distinct geographical terms. "Syria" in the Roman Empire period referred to the region of Syria (the western Levant, "those parts of the Empire situated between Asia Minor and Egypt"), while Asōristān was part of the Sasanian Empire and only very briefly came under Roman control (AD 116–118, marking the historical peak of Roman expansion).

Etymologically, the name Syria is connected to Assyria, ultimately from the Akkadian Aššur. Theodor Nöldeke in 1881 was the first to give philological support to the assumption that Syria and Assyria have the same etymology, a suggestion going back to John Selden (1617). Current academic opinion favours the connection.

Modern Syria (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎ "Syrian Arab Republic", since 1961) inherits its name from the Ottoman Syria Vilayet, established in 1865. The choice of the ancient Latin name for the Ottoman province reflects a growing historical consciousness among the local intellectuals at the time.

The Classical Arabic name for the region is بلاد اَلشَّأم‎ bilād aš-ša'm ("land to the north", Modern Standard Arabic اَلشَّام‎ aš-šām) from شأم‎ š'm "left hand; northern". In contrast, Baalshamin (Aramaic: ܒܥܠ ܫܡܝܢ‎, translit. Lord of Heaven(s)), was a Semitic sky-god in Canaan/Phoenicia and ancient Palmyra. Hence, Sham refers to (heaven or sky).

Senaya language

The Senaya language is a modern Eastern Syriac-Aramaic language. It is the language of Assyrians originally from Sanandaj in Iranian Kurdistan. Most Senaya speakers now live in California, United States and few families still live in Tehran, Iran. They are mostly members of the Chaldean Catholic Church. Since the speakers are ethnically Assyrian, the language would be, at times, considered a dialect of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.


Sinharib or Sanharib, Classical Syriac: ܣܢܚܪܝܒ‎ was, according to the Hagiography of Mar Behnam, an Assyrian client king of Nineveh in the fourth century AD. Nineveh was at the time within the Asōristān province of the Sasanian Empire. Much like Julian the Apostate of the Roman Empire, Sanharib disliked Christianity and tried to persuade his son Behnam to reject Christianity. Although greatly influenced by the Persian Zoroastrian religion at first, he later became Christian.

Upper Mesopotamia

Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain of northwestern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, in the northern Middle East. After the early Muslim conquests of the mid-7th century, the region has been known by the traditional Arabic name of al-Jazira (Arabic: الجزيرة‎ "the island", also transliterated Djazirah, Djezirah, Jazirah) and the Syriac (Aramaic) variant Gāzartā or Gozarto (ܓܙܪܬܐ). The Euphrates and Tigris rivers transform Mesopotamia into almost an island, as they are joined together at the Shatt al-Arab in the Basra Governorate of Iraq, and their sources in eastern Turkey are in close proximity.

The region extends south from the mountains of Anatolia, east from the hills on the left bank of the Euphrates river, west from the mountains on the right bank of the Tigris river and includes the Sinjar plain. It extends down the Tigris to Samarra and down the Euphrates to Hīt. The Khabur runs for over 400 km (250 mi) across the plain, from Turkey in the north, feeding into the Euphrates.

The major settlements are Mosul, Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, al-Hasakah, Diyarbakır and Qamishli. The western, Syrian part, is essentially contiguous with the Syrian al-Hasakah Governorate and is described as "Syria's breadbasket". The eastern, Iraqi part, includes and extends slightly beyond the Iraqi Nineveh Governorate. In the north it includes the Turkish provinces of Şanlıurfa, Mardin, and parts of Diyarbakır Province. This area now has large swaths controlled by Rojava.

Provinces of the Sasanian Empire
Syriac script
By country

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