Assyrian people (Syriac: ܐܫܘܪܝܐ), or Syriacs (see terms for Syriac Christians), are an ethnic group indigenous to Western Asia. Some of them self-identify as Arameans, or as Chaldeans. Speakers of modern Aramaic and as well as the primary languages in their countries of residence, the Assyrian people are Syriac Christians who claim descent from Assyria, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 2500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.
The tribal areas that form the Assyrian homeland are parts of present-day northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and, more recently, northeastern Syria. The majority have migrated to other regions of the world, including North America, the Levant, Australia, Europe, Russia and the Caucasus during the past century. Emigration was triggered by events such as the Massacres of Diyarbakır, the Assyrian Genocide (concurrent with the Armenian and Greek Genocides) during World War I by the Ottoman Empire and allied Kurdish tribes, the Simele Massacre in Iraq in 1933, the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Arab Nationalist Ba'athist policies in Iraq and Syria, the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its takeover of most of the Nineveh plains.
Assyrians are predominantly Christian, mostly adhering to the East and West Syrian liturgical rites of Christianity. The churches that constitute the East Syrian rite include the Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East, and Chaldean Catholic Church, whereas the churches of the West Syrian rite are the Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church. Both rites use Classical Syriac as their liturgical language.
Most recently, the post-2003 Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, have displaced much of the remaining Assyrian community from their homeland as a result of ethnic and religious persecution at the hands of Islamic extremists. Of the one million or more Iraqis reported by the United Nations to have fled Iraq since the occupation, nearly 40% were Assyrians even though Assyrians accounted for only around 3% of the pre-war Iraqi demography. According to a 2013 report by a Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council official, it is estimated that only 300,000 Assyrians remain in Iraq.
Because of the emergence of ISIL and the taking over of much of the Assyrian homeland by the terror group, another major wave of Assyrian displacement has taken place. ISIL was driven out from the Assyrian villages in the Khabour River Valley and the areas surrounding the city of Al-Hasakah in Syria by 2015, and from the Nineveh plains in Iraq by 2017. Since the expulsion of ISIL, the Nineveh plains have been divided into Iraqi and Kurdish-controlled zones, with Assyrian militias on both sides. In Gozarto/Northern Syria, Assyrian groups have been taking part both politically and militarily in the Kurdish-dominated but multiethnic Democratic Federation of Northern Syria project.
Sūrayĕ / Sūryōyĕ / Atūrayĕ
|Regions with significant populations|
|Traditional areas of Assyrian settlement:||645,000–1,100,000|
|Diaspora:||Numbers can vary|
(Assyrian, Chaldean, Turoyo)
(majority: Syriac Christianity; minority: Protestantism)
Assyria is the homeland of the Assyrian people; it is located in the ancient Near East. In prehistoric times, the region that was to become known as Assyria (and Subartu) was home to Neanderthals such as the remains of those which have been found at the Shanidar Cave. The earliest Neolithic sites in Assyria belonged to the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC and Tell Hassuna, the centre of the Hassuna culture, c. 6000 BC.
The history of Assyria begins with the formation of the city of Assur perhaps as early as the 25th century BC. The Assyrian king list records kings dating from the 25th century BC onwards, the earliest being Tudiya, who was a contemporary of Ibrium of Ebla. However, many of these early kings would have been local rulers, and from the late 24th century BC to the early 22nd century BC, they were usually subjects of the Akkadian Empire.
During the early Bronze Age period, Sargon of Akkad united all the native Semitic-speaking peoples and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia (including the Assyrians) under the Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BC). The cities of Assur and Nineveh (modern day Mosul), which was the oldest and largest city of the ancient Assyrian empire, together with a number of other towns and cities, existed as early as the 25th century BC, although they appear to have been Sumerian-ruled administrative centres at this time, rather than independent states. The Sumerians were eventually absorbed into the Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) population.
In the traditions of the Assyrian Church of the East, they are descended from Abraham's grandson (Dedan son of Jokshan), progenitor of the ancient Assyrians. However, there is no historical basis for the biblical assertion whatsoever; there is no mention in Assyrian records (which date as far back as the 25th century BC). Ashur-uballit I overthrew the Mitanni c. 1365 BC, and the Assyrians benefited from this development by taking control of the eastern portion of Mitanni territory, and later also annexing Hittite, Babylonian, Amorite and Hurrian territories. The Assyrian people, after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 609 BC were under the control of the Neo-Babylonian and later the Persian Empire, which consumed the entire Neo-Babylonian or "Chaldean" Empire in 539 BC. Assyrians became front line soldiers for the Persian Empire under Xerxes I, playing a major role in the Battle of Marathon under Darius I in 490 BC. Herodotus, whose Histories are the main source of information about that battle, makes no mention of Assyrians in connection with it.
Despite the influx of foreign elements, the presence of Assyrians is confirmed by the worship of the god Ashur; references to the name survive into the 3rd century AD. The Greeks, Parthians, and Romans had a rather low-level of integration with the local population in Mesopotamia, which allowed their cultures to survive. The kingdoms of Osrhoene, Adiabene, Hatra and Assur, which were under Parthian overlordship, had an Assyrian identity.
Emerging in Sumer c. 3500 BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms. Around 3000 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 (Babylonian and Assyrian) and Hittite languages.
The Kültepe texts, which were written in Old Assyrian, preserve the earliest known traces of the Hittite language, and the earliest attestation of any Indo-European language, dated to the 20th century BC. 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. To date, over 20,000 cuneiform tablets have been recovered from the site.
The Akkadian language, with its main dialects Assyrian and Babylonian, once the lingua franca of the Ancient Near East, began to decline during the Neo-Assyrian Empire around the 8th century BC, being marginalized by Old Aramaic during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III. By the Hellenistic period, the language was largely confined to scholars and priests working in temples in Assyria and Babylonia.
From the 1st century BC, Assyria was the theatre of the protracted Roman–Persian Wars. Much of the region would become the Roman province of Assyria from 116 to 118 AD following the conquests of Trajan, but after a Parthian-inspired Assyrian rebellion, the new emperor Hadrian withdrew from the short-lived Roman province of Assyria and its neighboring provinces in 118 AD. Following a successful campaign in 197–198, Severus converted the kingdom of Osroene, centred on Edessa, into a frontier Roman province. Roman influence in the area came to an end under Jovian in 363, who abandoned the region after concluding a hasty peace agreement with the Sassanians. From the later 2nd century, the Roman Senate included several notable Assyrians, including Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius.
The Assyrians were Christianized in the first to third centuries in Roman Syria and Roman Assyria. The population of the Sasanian province of Asōristān was a mixed one, composed of Assyrians, Arameans in the far south and the western deserts, and Persians. The Greek element in the cities, still strong during the Parthian Empire, ceased to be ethnically distinct in Sasanian times. The majority of the population were Eastern Aramaic speakers.
Along with the Arameans, Armenians, Greeks, and Nabataeans, the Assyrians were among the first people to convert to Christianity and spread Eastern Christianity to the Far East in spite of becoming, from the 8th century, a minority religion in their homeland following the Muslim conquest of Persia.
In 410, the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sasanian Empire, organized the Christians within that empire into what became known as the Church of the East. Its head was declared to be the bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, who in the acts of the council was referred to as the Grand or Major Metropolitan, and who soon afterward was called the Catholicos of the East. Later, the title of Patriarch was also used. Dioceses were organised into provinces, each of which was under the authority of a metropolitan bishop. Six such provinces were instituted in 410.
Another council held in 424 declared that the Catholicos of the East was independent of "western" ecclesiastical authorities (those of the Roman Empire).
Soon afterwards, Christians in the Roman Empire were divided by their attitude regarding the Council of Ephesus (431), which condemned Nestorianism, and the Council of Chalcedon (451), which condemned Monophysitism. Those who for any reason refused to accept one or other of these councils were called Nestorians or Monophysites, while those who accepted both councils, held under the auspices of the Roman emperors, were called Melkites (derived from Syriac malkā, king), meaning royalists. All three groups existed among the Syriac Christians, the East Syriacs being called Nestorians and the West Syriacs being divided between the Monophysites (today the Syriac Orthodox Church, also known as Jacobites, after Jacob Baradaeus) and those who accepted both councils (primarily today's Orthodox Church, which has adopted the Byzantine Rite in Greek, but also the Maronite Church, which kept its West Syriac Rite and was not as closely aligned with Constantinople). After the division the East and West Syrians developed distinct dialects. With the rise of Syriac Christianity, eastern Aramaic enjoyed a renaissance as a classical language in the 2nd to 8th centuries, and varieties of that form of Aramaic (Neo-Aramaic languages) are still spoken by a few small groups of Jacobite and Nestorian Christians in the Middle East.
The Assyrians initially experienced some periods of religious and cultural freedom interspersed with periods of severe religious and ethnic persecution after the 7th century Muslim conquest of Persia. Assyrians contributed to Islamic civilizations during the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. They also excelled in philosophy, science (Qusta ibn Luqa, Masawaiyh, Eutychius of Alexandria, and Jabril ibn Bukhtishu) and theology (such as Tatian, Bardaisan, Babai the Great, Nestorius, and Thomas of Marga) and the personal physicians of the Abbasid Caliphs were often Assyrians, such as the long-serving Bukhtishu dynasty. Many scholars of the House of Wisdom were of Assyrian Christian background.
Indigenous Assyrians became second-class citizens (dhimmi) in a greater Arab Islamic state, and those who resisted Arabisation and conversion to Islam were subject to severe religious, ethnic and cultural discrimination, and had certain restrictions imposed upon them. Assyrians were 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, as Christians they were subject to payment of a special tax (jizya), they were banned from spreading their religion further or building new churches in Muslim-ruled lands, but were also expected to adhere to the same laws of property, contract and obligation as the Muslim Arabs. They couldn't seek conversion of a Muslim, a non-Muslim man couldn't marry a Muslim woman and the child of such a marriage would be considered Muslim. They couldn't own a Muslim slave and had to wear different clothing from Muslims in order to be distinguishable. In addition to the jizya tax, they were also required to pay the kharaj tax on their land which was heavier than the jizya. However they were ensured protection, given religious freedom and to govern themselves in accordance to their own laws.
As non-Islamic proselytising was punishable by death under Sharia, the Assyrians were forced into preaching in Transoxiana, Central Asia, India, Mongolia and China where they established numerous churches. The Church of the East was considered to be one of the major Christian powerhouses in the world, alongside Latin Christianity in Europe and the Byzantine Empire.
From the 7th century AD onwards Mesopotamia saw a steady influx of Arabs, Kurds and other Iranian peoples, and later Turkic peoples. Assyrians were increasingly marginalized, persecuted, and gradually became a minority in their own homeland. Conversion to Islam as a result of heavy taxation which also resulted in decreased revenue from their rulers. As a result, the new converts migrated to Muslim garrison towns nearby.
Assyrians remained dominant in Upper Mesopotamia as late as the 14th century and the city of Ashur was still occupied by Assyrians during the Islamic period until the mid-14th century when the Muslim Turco-Mongol ruler Timur conducted a religiously motivated massacre against Assyrians. After, there were no records of Assyrians remaining in Ashur according to the archaeological and numismatic record. From this point, the Assyrian population was dramatically reduced in their homeland.
From the 19th century, after the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, the Ottomans started viewing Assyrians and other Christians in their eastern front as a potential threat. The Kurdish Emirs sought to consolidate their power by attacking Assyrian communities which were already well-established there. Scholars estimate that tens of thousands of Assyrian in the Hakkari region were massacred in 1843 when Bedr Khan Beg, the emir of Bohtan, invaded their region. After a later massacre in 1846, the Ottomans were forced by the western powers into intervening in the region, and the ensuing conflict destroyed the Kurdish emirates and reasserted the Ottoman power in the area. The Assyrians were subject to the massacres of Diyarbakır soon after.
Being culturally, ethnically, and linguistically distinct from their Muslim neighbors in the Middle East—the Arabs, Persians, Kurds, Turks—the Assyrians have endured much hardship throughout their recent history as a result of religious and ethnic persecution by these groups.
After initially coming under the control of the Seljuk Empire and the Buyid dynasty, the region eventually came under the control of the Mongol Empire after the fall of Baghdad in 1258. The Mongol khans were sympathetic with Christians and did not harm them. The most prominent among them was probably Isa Kelemechi, a diplomat, astrologer, and head of the Christian affairs in Yuan China. He spent some time in Persia under the Ilkhanate. The 14th century massacres of Timur devastated the Assyrian people. Timur's massacres and pillages of all that was Christian drastically reduced their existence. At the end of the reign of Timur, the Assyrian population had almost been eradicated in many places. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, Bar Hebraeus, the noted Assyrian scholar and hierarch, found "much quietness" in his diocese in Mesopotamia. Syria’s diocese, he wrote, was "wasted."
The region was later controlled by the in Iran-based Turkic confederations of the Aq Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu. Subsequently, all Assyrians, like with the rest of the ethnicities living in the former Aq Qoyunlu territories, fell into Safavid hands from 1501 and on.
The Ottomans secured their control over Mesopotamia and Syria in the first half of the 17th century following the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–39) and the resulting Treaty of Zuhab. Non-Muslims were organised into millets. Syriac Christians, however, were often considered one millet alongside Armenians until the 19th century, when Nestorian, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldeans gained that right as well.
A religious schism amongst the Assyrians took place in the mid to late 16th century. Dissent over the hereditary succession within the Church of the East grew until 1552, when a group of bishops, from the northern regions of Amid and Salmas, elected a priest, Mar Yohannan Sulaqa, as a rival patriarch. To look for a bishop of metropolitan rank to consecrate him patriarch, Sulaqa traveled to the pope in Rome and entered into communion with the Catholic Church. In 1553 he was consecrated bishop and elevated to the rank of patriarch taking the name of Mar Shimun VIII. Pope Julius III recognized him as "Patriarch of Mosul in Eastern Syria" or "Patriarch of the Church of the Chaldeans of Mosul". On the basis of A Chronicle of the Carmelites in Persia: The Safavids and the Papal Mission of the 17th and 18th Centuries, published by Eyre & Spottiswoode in 1939, George V. Yana (Bebla) says that Sulaqa was granted the title of "Patriarch of the Chaldeans" and his church was named the Church of Athura and Mosul.
Mar Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa returned to northern Mesopotamia in the same year and fixed his seat in Amid. Before being imprisoned for four months and then in January 1555 put to death by the governor of Amadiya at the instigation of the rival patriarch of Alqosh, the Aliya line, he ordained two metropolitans and three other bishops, thus beginning a new ecclesiastical hierarchy: the patriarchal line known as the Shimun line. The area of influence of this patriarchate soon moved from Amid east, fixing the see, after many changes, in the isolated village of Qochanis. The Shimun line eventually drifted away from Rome by 1600 and in the first years of the 19th century, when most of the followers of the Eliya line choose union with Rome as the Chaldean Catholic Church, found itself alone at the head of what since 1976 has adopted the name of Assyrian Church of the East.
Another major massacre of Assyrians (and Armenians) in the Ottoman Empire occurred between 1894 and 1897 by Turkish troops and their Kurdish allies during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The motives for these massacres were an attempt to reassert Pan-Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, resentment at the comparative wealth of the ancient indigenous Christian communities, and a fear that they would attempt to secede from the tottering Ottoman Empire. Assyrians were massacred in Diyarbakir, Hasankeyef, Sivas and other parts of Anatolia, by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. These attacks caused the death of over thousands of Assyrians and the forced "Ottomanisation" of the inhabitants of 245 villages. The Turkish troops looted the remains of the Assyrian settlements and these were later stolen and occupied by Kurds. Unarmed Assyrian women and children were raped, tortured and murdered.
The Assyrians suffered a number of religiously and ethnically motivated massacres throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries AD, culminating in the large scale Hamidian massacres of unarmed men, women and children by Muslim Turks and Kurds in the late 19th century at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and its associated (largely Kurdish and Arab) militias, which further greatly reduced numbers, particularly in southeastern Turkey.
The most significant recent persecution against the Assyrian population was the Assyrian genocide which occurred during the First World War. Between 275,000 and 300,000 Assyrians were estimated to have been slaughtered by the armies of the Ottoman Empire and their Kurdish allies, totalling up to two-thirds of the entire Assyrian population.
This led to a large-scale migration of Turkish-based Assyrian people into countries such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq (where they were to suffer further violent assaults at the hands of the Arabs and Kurds), as well as other neighbouring countries in and around the Middle East such as Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
In reaction to the Assyrian Genocide and lured by British and Russian promises of an independent nation, the Assyrians led by Agha Petros and Malik Khoshaba of the Bit-Tyari tribe, fought alongside the Allies against Ottoman forces in an Assyrian war of independence. Despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned the Assyrians fought successfully, scoring a number of victories over the Turks and Kurds. This situation continued until their Russian allies left the war, and Armenian resistance broke, leaving the Assyrians surrounded, isolated and cut off from lines of supply. The sizable Assyrian presence in south eastern Anatolia which had endured for over four millennia was thus reduced to no more than 15,000 by the end of World War I.
The majority of Assyrians living in what is today modern Turkey were forced to flee to either Syria or Iraq after the Turkish victory during the Turkish War of Independence. In 1932, Assyrians refused to become part of the newly formed state of Iraq and instead demanded their recognition as a nation within a nation. The Assyrian leader Shimun XXI Eshai asked the League of Nations to recognize the right of the Assyrians to govern the area known as the "Assyrian triangle" in northern Iraq. During the French mandate period, some Assyrians, fleeing ethnic cleansings in Iraq during the Simele massacre, established numerous villages along the Khabur River during the 1930s.
The Assyrian Levies were founded by the British in 1928, with ancient Assyrian military rankings such as Rab-shakeh, Rab-talia and Tartan, 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 and Kurds. During World War II, eleven Assyrian companies saw action in Palestine and another four served in Cyprus. The Parachute Company was attached to the Royal Marine Commando and were involved in fighting in Albania, Italy and Greece. The Assyrian Levies played a major role in subduing the pro-Nazi Iraqi forces at the battle of Habbaniya in 1941.
However, this cooperation with the British was viewed with suspicion by some leaders of the newly formed Kingdom of Iraq. The tension reached its peak shortly after the formal declaration of independence when hundreds of Assyrian civilians were slaughtered during the Simele Massacre by the Iraqi Army in August 1933. The events lead to the expulsion of Shimun XXI Eshai the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East to the United States where resided until his death in 1975.
The period from the 1940s through to 1963 saw a period of respite for the Assyrians. The regime of President Abd al-Karim Qasim in particular saw the Assyrians accepted into mainstream society. Many urban Assyrians became successful businessmen, others were well represented in politics and the military, their towns and villages flourished undisturbed, and Assyrians came to excel, and be over represented in sports.
The Ba'ath Party seized power in Iraq and Syria in 1963, introducing laws aimed at suppressing the Assyrian national identity via arabization policies. The giving of traditional Assyrian names was banned and Assyrian schools, political parties, churches and literature were repressed. Assyrians were heavily pressured into identifying as Iraqi/Syrian Christians. Assyrians were not recognized as an ethnic group by the governments and they fostered divisions among Assyrians along religious lines (e.g. Assyrian Church of the East vs. Chaldean Catholic Church vs Syriac Orthodox Church).
In response to Baathist persecution, the Assyrians of the Zowaa movement within the Assyrian Democratic Movement took up armed struggle against the Iraqi government in 1982 under the leadership of Yonadam Kanna, and then joined up with the Iraqi-Kurdistan Front in the early 1990s. Yonadam Kanna in particular was a target of the Saddam Hussein Ba'ath government for many years.
The Anfal campaign of 1986–1989 in Iraq, which was intended to target Kurdish opposition, resulted in 2,000 Assyrians being murdered through its gas campaigns. Over 31 towns and villages, 25 Assyrian monasteries and churches were razed to the ground. Some Assyrians were murdered, others were deported to large cities, and their lands and homes then being appropriated by Arabs and Kurds.
Since the 2003 Iraq War social unrest and chaos have resulted in the unprovoked persecution of Assyrians in Iraq, mostly by Islamic extremists, (both Shia and Sunni) and Kurdish nationalists (ex. Dohuk Riots of 2011 aimed at Assyrians & Yazidis). In places such as Dora, a neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad, the majority of its Assyrian population has either fled abroad or to northern Iraq, or has been murdered. Islamic resentment over the United States' occupation of Iraq, and incidents such as the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons and the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, have resulted in Muslims attacking Assyrian communities. Since the start of the Iraq war, at least 46 churches and monasteries have been bombed.
In recent years, the Assyrians in northern Iraq and northeast Syria have become the target of extreme unprovoked Islamic terrorism. As a result, Assyrians have taken up arms alongside other groups (such as the Kurds, Turcomans and Armenians) in response to unprovoked attacks by Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIL), Nusra Front and other terrorist Islamic Fundamentalist groups. In 2014 Islamic terrorists of ISIL attacked Assyrian towns and villages in the Assyrian Homeland of northern Iraq, together with cities such as Mosul and Kirkuk which have large Assyrian populations. There have been reports of atrocities committed by ISIL terrorists since, including; beheadings, crucifixions, child murders, rape, forced conversions, Ethnic Cleansing, robbery, and extortion in the form of illegal taxes levied upon non Muslims. Assyrians in Iraq have responded by forming armed militias to defend their territories.
The Dawronoye modernization movement has a growing influence on Assyrian identity in the 21st century. It is particularly influential in Syria, where the Syriac Union Party (SUP) has become a major political actor in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. In August 2016, the Ourhi Centre in the city of Zalin was started by the Assyrian community, to educate teachers in order to make Syriac an optional language of instruction in public schools, which then started with the 2016/17 academic year. With that academic year, states the Rojava Education Committee, "three curriculums have replaced the old one, to include teaching in three languages: Kurdish, Arabic and Assyrian." Associated with the SUP is the Syriac Military Council, an Assyrian militia operating in Syria, established in January 2013 to protect and stand up for the national rights of Assyrians in Syria as well as working together with the other communities in Syria to change the current government of Bashar al-Assad. Since 2015 it is a component of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Assyrian homeland constitutes northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and, much recently, northeastern Syria. This includes the ancient cities of Nineveh (Mosul), Nuhadra (Dohuk), Arrapha/Beth Garmai (Kirkuk), Amida (Diyarbakir), Edessa/Urhoy (Urfa), Harran, Nisabina/Zalin (Nusaybin/Qamishli), Arbela (Erbil), and also the Christianized settlements from the 5th century AD after the spread of Islam, such as Urmia in Iran, Hakkari (Yuksekova, Çukurca and Semdinli), Uludere and Tur Abdin (Midyat and Kafro) in Turkey, among others. Some of the cities are presently under Kurdish control.
Hakkari's Assyrian population was ethnically cleansed during the Assyrian Genocide of the First World War. Those who survived fled to unaffected areas of Assyrian settlement in Northern Iraq, with others settling in Iraqi cities to the south. Though many also went to neighboring countries in and around the Caucasus and Middle East like Armenia, Syria, Georgia, southern Russia, Lebanon, Jordan.
In ancient times, Akkadian-speaking Assyrians have existed in what is now Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon, among other modern countries, due to the sprawl of the Neo-Assyrian empire in the region. Though recent settlement of Christian Assyrians in Qamishli, Al-Hasakah, Al-Qahtaniyah, Al Darbasiyah, Al-Malikiyah, Amuda, Tel Tamer and a few other small towns in Al-Hasakah Governorate in Syria, occurred in the early 1930s, when they fled from Northern Iraq after they were targeted and slaughtered during the Simele massacre.
The Assyrians in Syria did not have Syrian citizenship and title to their land until late 1940s. Sizable Assyrian populations only remain in Syria, where an estimated 400,000 Assyrians live, and in Iraq, where an estimated 300,000 Assyrians live. In Iran and Turkey, only small populations remain, with only 20,000 Assyrians in Iran, and a small but growing Assyrian population in Turkey, where 25,000 Assyrians live. In Tur Abdin, a traditional center of Assyrian culture, there are only 2,500 Assyrians left. Down from 50,000 in the 1960 census, but up from 1,000 in 1992. This sharp decline is due to an intense conflict between Turkey and the PKK in the 1980s. However, there are an estimated 25,000 Assyrians in all of Turkey, with most living in Istanbul. Most Assyrians currently reside in the West due to the centuries of persecution by the neighboring Muslims.
There are three main Assyrian subgroups: Eastern, Western, Chaldean. These subdivisions are only partially overlapping linguistically, historicalally, culturalally, and religiously.
Due to their Christian faith and ethnicity, the Assyrians have been persecuted since their adoption of Christianity. During the reign of Yazdegerd I, Christians in Persia were viewed with suspicion as potential Roman subversives, resulting in persecutions while at the same time promoting Nestorian Christianity as a buffer between the Churches of Rome and Persia. 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.
More recent persecutions since the 19th century include the Massacres of Badr Khan, the Massacres of Diyarbakır (1895), the Adana massacre, the Assyrian genocide, the Simele Massacre, and the al-Anfal campaign.
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 (100,000), Germany (100,000), the United States (80,000), and in Australia (46,000).
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. There is also a sizable Assyrian community in Melbourne, Australia (Broadmeadows, Meadow Heights and Craigieburn) In the United States, Assyrians are mostly found in Chicago (Niles and Skokie), Detroit (Sterling Heights, and West Bloomfield Township), Phoenix, Modesto (Stanislaus County) and Turlock.
Furthermore, small Assyrian communities are found in San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno in the United States, Toronto in Canada and also in London, UK (London Borough of Ealing). In Germany, pocket-sized Assyrian communities are scattered throughout Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Berlin and Wiesbaden. 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. In Russia, small groups of Assyrians mostly reside in Krasnodar Kray and Moscow.
To note, the Assyrians residing in California and Russia tend to be from Iran, whilst those in Chicago and Sydney are predominantly Iraqi Assyrians. More recently, Syrian Assyrians are growing in size in Sydney after a huge influx of new arrivals in 2016, who were granted asylum under the Federal Government's special humanitarian intake. The Assyrians in Detroit are primarily Chaldean speakers, who also originate from Iraq. Assyrians in such European countries as Sweden and Germany would usually be Turoyo-speakers or Western Assyrians.
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. In certain areas of the Assyrian homeland, identity within a community depends on a person's village of origin (see List of Assyrian villages) or Christian denomination rather than their ethnic commonality, for instance Chaldean Catholics preferring to be called Chaldeans instead of Assyrians, or a Syriac Orthodox Christian preferring to be called a Syriac.
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. Today, Assyrians and other minority ethnic groups in the Middle East, feel pressure to identify as "Arabs", "Turks" and "Kurds".
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.
Below are terms commonly used by Assyrians to self-identify:.
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. Starting from the 2nd century BC onwards, ancient writers referred to the Seleucid ruler as the King of Syria or King of the Syrians. The Seleucids designated the districts of Seleucis and Coele-Syria explicitly as Syria and ruled the Syrians as indigenous populations residing west of the Euphrates (Aramea) in contrast to Assyrians who had their native homeland in Mesopotamia east 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 323 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. When the Seleucids lost control of Assyria to the Parthians they retained the corrupted term (Syria), applying it to ancient Aramea, while the Parthians called Assyria "Assuristan," a Parthian form of the original name. 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". The question has a long history of academic controversy, but majority mainstream opinion currently strongly favours that Syria is indeed ultimately derived from the Assyrian term Aššūrāyu.  Meanwhile, some scholars has disclaimed the theory of Syrian being derived from Assyrian as "simply naive", and detracted its importance to the naming conflict.
Rudolf Macuch points out that the Eastern Neo-Aramaic press initially used the term "Syrian" (suryêta) and only much later, with the rise of nationalism, switched to "Assyrian" (atorêta). According to Tsereteli, however, a Georgian equivalent of "Assyrians" appears in ancient Georgian, Armenian and Russian documents. This correlates with the theory of the nations to the East of Mesopotamia knew the group as Assyrians, while to the West, beginning with Greek influence, the group was known as Syrians. Syria being a Greek corruption of Assyria. The debate appears to have been settled by the discovery of the Çineköy inscription in favour of Syria being derived from Assyria.
The Çineköy inscription is a Hieroglyphic Luwian-Phoenician bilingual, uncovered from Çineköy, Adana Province, Turkey (ancient Cilicia), dating to the 8th century BC. Originally published by Tekoglu and Lemaire (2000), it was more recently the subject of a 2006 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.e., Cilicia), dating to the eighth century BC. In this monumental inscription, Urikki made reference to the relationship between his kingdom and his Assyrian overlords. The Luwian inscription reads "Sura/i" whereas the Phoenician translation reads ’ŠR or "Ashur" which, according to Rollinger (2006), "settles the problem once and for all".
The modern terminological problem goes back to colonial times, but it became more acute in 1946, 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. "Aramaean", but also applies to self-designation in Neo-Aramaic, the minority "Aramaean" faction endorses both Sūryāyē ܣܘܪܝܝܐ and Ārāmayē ܐܪܡܝܐ, while the majority "Assyrian" faction insists on Āṯūrāyē ܐܬܘܪܝܐ but also accepts Sūryāyē.
Assyrian culture is largely influenced by Christianity. There are many Assyrian customs that are common in other Middle Eastern cultures. Main festivals occur during religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. There are also secular holidays such as Kha b-Nisan (vernal equinox).
People often greet and bid relatives farewell with a kiss on each cheek and by saying "ܫܠܡܐ ܥܠܝܟ" Shlama/Shlomo lokh, which means: "Peace be upon you" in Neo-Aramaic. 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. A parent will often place an eye pendant on their baby to prevent "an evil eye being cast upon it". Spitting on anyone or their belongings is seen as a grave insult.
Assyrians are endogamous, meaning they generally marry within their own ethnic group, although exogamous marriages are not perceived as a taboo, not unless if the foreigner is of a different religious background, especially a Muslim. Throughout history, relations between the Assyrians and Armenians have tended to be very friendly, as both groups have practised Christianity since ancient times and have suffered through persecution under Muslim rulers. 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. By the 1st century AD, Akkadian was extinct, although its influence on contemporary Eastern Neo-Aramaic languages spoken by Assyrians is significant and some loaned vocabulary still survives in these languages to this day.
To the native speaker, "Syriac" is usually called Surayt, Soureth, Suret or a similar regional variant. A wide variety of languages and dialects exist, including Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, and Turoyo. 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. Jewish varieties such as Lishanid Noshan, Lishán Didán and Lishana Deni, written in the Hebrew script, are spoken by Assyrian Jews.
There is a considerable amount of mutual intelligibility between Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Senaya, Lishana Deni and Bohtan Neo-Aramaic. 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 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. Historically many Assyrians also spoke Turkish, Armenian, Azeri, Kurdish, and Persian and a smaller number of Assyrians that remain in Iran, Turkey (Istanbul and Tur Abdin) and Armenia still do today. 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. It has 22 letters representing consonants, three of which can be also used to indicate vowels. 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.
The oldest and classical form of the alphabet is the ʾEsṭrangēlā script. Although ʾEsṭrangēlā is no longer used as the main script for writing Syriac, it has received some revival since the 10th century, and it has been added to the Unicode Standard in September, 1999. The East Syriac dialect is usually written in the Maḏnḥāyā form of the alphabet, which is often translated as "contemporary", reflecting its use in writing modern Neo-Aramaic. The West Syriac dialect is usually written in the Serṭā form of the alphabet. Most of the letters are clearly derived from ʾEsṭrangēlā, but are simplified, flowing lines.
Assyrians belong to various Christian denominations such as the Assyrian Church of the East, with an estimated 400,000 members, the Chaldean Catholic Church, with about 600,000 members, and the Syriac Orthodox Church (ʿIdto Suryoyto Triṣaṯ Šuḇḥo), which has between 1,000,000 and 4,000,000 members around the world (only some of whom are Assyrians), the Ancient Church of the East with some 100,000 members. A small minority of Assyrians accepted the Protestant Reformation thus are Reform Orthodox in the 20th century, possibly due to British influences, and is now organized in the Assyrian Evangelical Church, the Assyrian Pentecostal Church and other Protestant/Reform Orthodox Assyrian groups. 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:
For obvious reasons the Chaldean Catholics who follow the East Syrian Rite and were originally members of the historical Church of the East are not Nestorian in theology, a designation which the Church of the East itself denied.
Baptism and First Communion are celebrated extensively, similar to a Brit Milah or Bar Mitzvah in Jewish communities. 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.
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.
Some well known Assyrian singers in modern times are Ashur Bet Sargis, Sargon Gabriel, Evin Agassi, Janan Sawa, Juliana Jendo, and Linda George. 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 2008 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. Members of the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church and Syriac Catholic Church follow the Gregorian calendar and as a result celebrate Easter on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 inclusively. However, members of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Ancient Church of the East celebrate Easter on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8 inclusively on the Gregorian calendar (March 22 and April 25 on the Julian calendar). 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 3,000 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. It is rich in grain, meat, potato, cheese, bread and tomato. 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 drank.
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." Genetic analysis of the Assyrians of Persia demonstrated that they were "closed" with little "intermixture" with the Muslim Persian population and that an individual Assyrian's genetic makeup is relatively close to that of the Assyrian population as a whole. "The genetic data are compatible with historical data that religion played a major role in maintaining the Assyrian population's separate identity during the Christian era".
In a 2006 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."  A 2008 study on the genetics of "old ethnic groups in Mesopotamia," including 340 subjects from seven ethnic communities ("Assyrian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Armenian, Turkmen, the Arab peoples in Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait") found that Assyrians were homogeneous with respect to all other ethnic groups sampled in the study, regardless of religious affiliation.
In a 2011 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."  In a 2017 study focusing on the genetics of Northern Iraqi populations, it was found that Iraqi Assyrians and Iraqi Yazidis clustered together, but away from the other Northern Iraqi populations analyzed in the study, and largely in between the West Asian and Southeastern European populations. 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".
In a 2011 study from the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, the genetic composition of the Assyrian population was examined using 12 Single-nucleotide polymorphism and 6 microsatellite (STR) markers on Y chromosome and the results were compared with the neighbouring ethnic groups of the Near East region, which showed that Assyrians are genetically distant from Arabs and are more akin to other populations of the Near East and the South Caucasus. After making a comparison of the genetic spacing based on Y chromosomal haplogroups (FST), it was determined that Assyrians are closely related to the Armenians of Syunik and Karabakh in eastern Armenia, and are genetically distant from all Arabic groups (Bedouins, Palestinian Arabs, Syrians and Yemenis, who belong to a distinct clump that is genetically far-flung from Assyrians). Another study that year showcased certain connection of Assyrians to Armenians and some other peoples from Iran according to Y-chromosomal single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers.
The most common Y-DNA haplogroups among Assyrians is T-M184, at 41.5%, which is frequent in Middle Eastern Jews, Georgians, Druze and Somalians. In a DNA test comprising 48 Assyrian male subjects from Iran, the Y-DNA haplogroups J-M304, found in its greatest concentration in the Arabian peninsula, and the Indo European-linked R1b (specifically R-M269), were also frequent at 29.2% each. In other tests taken, R1b has reached 40%, making it a major haplogroup among Assyrians. R-M269 was brought from the Pontic–Caspian steppe in Eurasia, a region hypothesised to be the Proto-Indo-European homeland, which went south over the Caucasus mountains via Anatolia and into Mesopotamia at around 6,000 B.P. The high frequency of the Atlantic modal haplotype in Assyrians showcases that the ancient Assyrians had considerable genetic interaction with the peoples who migrated to northwest Europe, a region where the R1b haplogroup is common.
According to a 2006 study of Assyrian males from Iraq, Iran and Turkey J-M267 measured at 28.6%, 16.1% and 20.0%, respectively, which is significant among Semitic people of Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa and the second most common haplogroup among Assyrians. This was followed by J2 at 13.4%, which is commonly found in the Fertile Crescent, the Caucasus, Anatolia, Italy, coastal Mediterranean, and the Iranian plateau. Other Y-DNA haplogroups included were Afro Asiatic-linked E1b1b (11.2%), G-M201 (8.9%), which is significantly found in the Caucasus and Georgia, and the Proto Indo European-linked R1a (8.3%).
The most frequent occurring mtDNA haplogroups were H (the most common mtDNA haplogroup in Europe), J (found highly in the Arabian Peninsula) and U (frequent in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa). K (significant among Ashkenazi Jewish people) and T (found in the Caucasus, Russia, central and eastern Europe) also occurred in Assyrians, albeit scarcely.
When the Seleucid Empire disintegrated at the end of the second century BC, its western remnants were annexed to Rome, while several semi-independent kingdoms of decidedly Assyrian stamp and/or identity (Osrhoene, Adiabene, Hatra, Assur) popped up in the East under Parthian overlordship. 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.
In the 19th cent. A. H. Layard, the excavator of Nineveh, first suggested that the local *Syriac Christian communities in the region were descended from the ancient Assyrians, and the idea was later popularized by W. A. Wigram, a member of the Abp. Of Canterbury’s Mission to the Church of the East (1895-1915).
The relationship probability was lowest between Assyrians and other communities. Endogamy was found to be high for this population through determination of the heterogeneity coefficient (+0,6867), Our study supports earlier findings indicating the relatively closed nature of the Assyrian community as a whole, which as a result of their religious and cultural traditions, have had little intermixture with other populations.
Abu Sa'id Ubaid Allah ibn Bakhtyashu (940–1058), also spelled Bukhtishu, Bukhtyashu, and Bakhtshooa in many texts, was an 11th-century Syriac physician, descendant of Bakhtshooa Gondishapoori. He spoke the Syriac language.He was the last representative of the Bukhtyashu family of Nestorian Christian physicians, who emigrated from Jundishapur to Baghdad in 765. His main works are the Reminder of the Homestayer, dealing with the philosophical terms used in medicine, and a treatise on lovesickness.Assyrian
Assyrian may refer to:
from Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire
Assyrian people, or Syriacs, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East
Assyrian language (disambiguation)
SS Assyrian, the name of at least two cargo ships
The Assyrian (novel), a 1987 novel by Nicholas GuildAssyrian 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 cuisine
Assyrian cuisine is the cuisine of the indigenous ethnic Assyrian people, Eastern Aramaic speaking Syriac Christians of northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, north western Iran and south eastern Turkey. Assyrian cuisine is very similar to other Middle Eastern and Caucasian cuisines such as Greek cuisine, Lebanese cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Israeli cuisine, and Armenian cuisine, with most dishes being similar to the cuisines of the area in which those Assyrians live/originate from. It is rich in vegetables and grains, such as barley, meat, tomato, herbs, spices, cheese, potato as well as herbs, fermented dairy products, and pickles. Alcohol, in particular wheat beer, organic wine, and arak is also consumed.Assyrian nationalism
Assyrian nationalism or Assyrianism increased in popularity in the late 19th century in a climate of increasing ethnic and religious persecution of the indigenous Assyrians of what is today northern Iraq, south-east Turkey and north-west Iran (Upper Mesopotamia).
Assyrian nationalism – the ideology of a united Assyrian people – is to a great degree based on a common and specific historic, ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural and geographic background and heritage. It is espoused by almost all Mesopotamian East Aramaic-speaking Assyrians. They are exclusively Christians, with most Assyrians following the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Catholic Church, Ancient Church of the East and Protestant groups like the Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church, as well as those that are irreligious.
Geographically they are the native and indigenous people of Mesopotamia, in effect a region corresponding with what was ancient Assyria (Upper Mesopotamia) from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC until its dissolution in the 7th century AD. Assyrian nationalism is also common in the diaspora communities that left these areas for Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Lebanon, Jordan and Azerbaijan and migrant Assyrians from all these lands now residing in the European Union, United States, Canada and Australia.
The United Nations Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) recognises the modern Assyrians as an indigenous people of south-east Turkey, north-east Syria and the fringes of north-west Iran, as does the Political Dictionary of the Modern Middle East.Ayoub Odisho
Ayoub Odisho Barjam (Arabic: أيوب اوديشو; born 15 December 1960), is an Iraqi Assyrian former football player and current coach of the Al-Zawraa in the Iraqi Premier League.Basil Gorgis
Basil Gewargis Hanna or Basil Korkis (Arabic: باسل كوركيس ) (born January 08, 1961 in Iraq) is a former Iraqi international football player. Despite having a short career, he is considered to be one of the best players of all time in Iraq, being known for his tenacity and attacking threat. He is currently running for a spot in the Iraqi parliament.
As a player, Basil took the national team to uncharted territory, where he was part of the Iraqi "golden team" of the 1980s that included Hussein Saeed and Ahmad Radhi.
Basil is married to his wife Nawal Hanna and they have three daughters together, Reta, Nadiya, and Mariam Hanna.Dardania
Dardania, Dardanian or Dardanians may refer to ancient peoples or locations:
Dardanians (Trojan) Trojan allies
Dardania (Troas), a city and a district of the Troad, in Asia Minor on the Hellespont (the modern Dardanelles)
Dardania (Samothrace), old name of Samothrace according to Pausanias
Dardanean, an Assyrian people mentioned by Herodotus
Dardani, an ancient tribe in Southeastern Europe
Dardanian Kingdom an ancient Kingdom in Southeastern Europe
Dardania (Roman province), a Roman and Byzantine province in the Balkans (Southeastern Europe)OtherDardania, one of the major neighbourhoods of the city of Pristina
Democratic League of Dardania (Lidhja Demokratike e Dardanisë), a political party in KosovoHistory of the Assyrian people
The history of the Assyrian people begins with the appearance of Akkadian speaking peoples in Mesopotamia at some point between 3500 and 3000 BC, followed by the formation of Assyria in the 25th century BC. During the early bronze age period Sargon of Akkad united all the native Semitic-speakers and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia (including the Assyrians) under the Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BC). Assyria essentially existed as part of a unified Akkadian nation for much of the period from the 24th century BC to the 22nd century BC, and a nation state from the mid 21st century BC until its destruction as an independent state between 615–599 BC.
The Assyrians are culturally, linguistically, and ethnically distinct from their neighbours in the Middle East – the Arabs, Syrians, Persians, Kurds, Turks, and Armenians. Assyrian nationalism emphasizes their indigeneity to the Assyrian homeland, together with cultural, historical and ethnic Assyrian continuity since the Iron Age Neo-Assyrian Empire, and Achaemenid Persian, Greek, Roman, Parthian and Sassanid ruled Athura/Assuristan. Assyria was a land stretching from Kirkuk in the south to Amida in the north, and from Edessa in the west to the border of Persia (Iran) in the east.
The Assyrians are indigenous to modern northern Iraq, southeast Turkey, northwest Iran and, much recently, northeast Syria. The area which is northern Iraq today encompassed Assyria between the 21st century BC and 7th century AD. Much of this land is now inhabited by Kurds (including Yezidis) and to a lesser extent, Armenians. They are a Semitic people, with many (estimates range between 575,000 and 1,000,000) still speaking, reading and writing Akkadian influenced dialects of East Aramaic. Today they are mostly a Christian people, with most being followers of the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church while some other minority religions of Assyrians is Judaism and Islam. There is a number of people living in Israel who speaks an Jewish Neo-Aramaic language they are called Lishan Didan and the language is mutually intelligble with Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Chaldean Neo-Aramaic to some extent, they are ethnic Assyrians but who converted to Judaism. The Mhallami people is believed to be a turkicized and arabized people who are ethnically Assyrians and Arameans but who converted to Islam around 6th and 20th century.Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Ignatius Zakka I Iwas (Syriac: ܐܝܓܢܐܛܝܘܣ ܙܟܝ ܩܕܡܝܐ ܥܝܘܐܨ, Arabic: إغناطيوس زكا الأول عيواص, Ignatios Zakkà ‘Īwāṣ, born Sanharib Iwas, 21 April 1931 – 21 March 2014) was the 122nd reigning Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and, as such, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church. Also known by his traditional episcopal name, Severios, he was enthroned as patriarch on 14 September 1980 in St. George's Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus. He succeeded Ignatius Ya`qub III. As is traditional for the head of the church, Mor Severios adopted the name Ignatius.
Zakka was known for his involvement in ecumenical dialogue. He was a president of the World Council of Churches and also a prolific author. He was an observer at Second Vatican Council before becoming metropolitan bishop of Mosul. At the time of his election as patriarch, Mor Severios Zakka was serving as the archbishop of Baghdad and Basra. As patriarch, he established a monastic seminary, met with Pope John Paul II during the Roman Pope's visit to Syria in 2001, and installed numerous metropolitans, including Baselios Thomas I as Catholicos of India. He celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 2005.
Iwas was admitted to a hospital in Germany for angioplasty on 20 February 2014 and died on 21 March 2014.Iranian Assyrians
Assyrians in Iran (Persian: آشوریان ایران), are an ethnoreligious and linguistic minority in present-day Iran. The Assyrians of Iran speak Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, a neo-Aramaic language descended from Classical Syriac and elements of Akkadian, and are Eastern Rite Christians belonging mostly to the Assyrian Church of the East and also to the Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church.They share a common history and ethnic identity, rooted in shared linguistic, cultural and religious traditions, with Assyrians in Iraq, Assyrians in Turkey and Assyrians in Syria, as well as with the Assyrian diaspora.The Assyrian community in Iran numbered approximately 200,000 prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. However, after the revolution many Assyrians left the country, primarily for the United States; the 1996 Iranian census counted only 32,000 Assyrians. Current estimates of the Assyrian population in Iran range from 32,000 (as of 2005) to 50,000 (as of 2007). The Iranian capital, Tehran, is home to the majority of Iranian Assyrians; however, approximately 15,000 Assyrians reside in northern Iran, in Urmia and various Assyrian villages in the surrounding area.The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ratified in 1979, recognizes Assyrians as a religious minority and ethnic minority and reserves for them one seat in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Iranian parliament. As of 2004, the seat was occupied by Yonathan Betkolia, who was elected in 2000 and reelected in the 2004 legislative election.Today, scholars estimate that there are only around 5,000 Assyrians left in the historical center of the city of Urmia.Iraqis
The Iraqi people (Arabic: العراقيون ʿIrāqiyyūn, Kurdish: گهلی عیراق Îraqîyan, Classical Syriac: ܥܡܐ ܥܝܪܩܝܐ ʿIrāqāyā, Turkish: Iraklılar) are the citizens of the modern country of Iraq.Arabs have had a large presence in Mesopotamia since the Sasanian Empire (224–637). Arabic was spoken by the majority in the Kingdom of Araba in the first and second centuries, and by Arabs in al-Hirah from the third century. Arabs were common in Mesopotamia at the time of the Seleucid Empire (3rd century BC). The first Arab kingdom outside Arabia was established in Iraq's Al-Hirah in the third century. Arabic was a minority language in northern Iraq in the eighth century BC, from the eighth century following the Muslim conquest of Persia, it became the dominant language of Iraqi Muslims because Arabic was the language of the Quran and of the Abbasid Caliphate.Kurds who are Iraqi citizens live in the Zagros Mountains of northeast Iraq to the east of the upper Tigris. Arabic and Kurdish are Iraq's national languages.Jabril ibn Bukhtishu
Jabril ibn Bukhtishu, (Jibril ibn Bakhtisha) also written as Bakhtyshu, was an 8th-9th century physician from the Bukhtishu family of Assyrian Nestorian physicians from the Academy of Gundishapur. He was a Nestorian and spoke the Syriac language.Grandson of Jirjis ibn Jibril, he lived in the second half of the eighth century.
He was physician to Ja'far the Barmakide, then in 805-6 to Harun al-Rashid and later to al-Ma'mun; died in 828-29; buried in the monastery of St. Sergios in al-Madain (Ctesiphon).
He wrote various medical works and exerted much influence upon the progress of science in Baghdad. Works attributed to him include Kitāb ṭabā’i‘ al-ḥayawān wa-khawāṣṣihā wa-manāfi‘ a‘ḍā’ihā ('Book of the Characteristics of Animals and Their Properties and the Usefulness of Their Organs'), written for Nasir al-Dawla; Risāla fī al-ṭibb wa-al-aḥdāth al-nafsāniyya ('Treatise on Medicine and Psychological Phenomena'); and Kitāb naʿt al-hayawān. He was a member of the Bakhtyashu family. He took pains to obtain Greek medical manuscripts and patronized the translators.Mardin Province
Mardin Province (Classical Syriac: ܡܪܕܐ, Turkish: Mardin ili, Kurdish: Parêzgeha Mêrdînê, Arabic: ماردين,), is a province of Turkey with a population of 809,719 in 2017. The population was 835,173 in 2000. The capital of the Mardin Province is Mardin (Classical Syriac: ܡܶܪܕܺܝܢ "Mardin" in related Semitic language Arabic: ماردين, Mardīn). Located near the traditional boundary of Anatolia and Mesopotamia, it has a diverse population, composed of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian people, with Kurds forming the majority of the province's population.Michael Denkha
Michael Denkha is an Australian actor known for his roles in Get Rich Quick, Stealth, The Combination, Down Under and, most recently, Here Come the Habibs TV series.Padania national football team
The Padania representative football team is an unofficial football team promoted by football operators which claim it represents eight northern regions of Italy called Padania. The team is not a member of UEFA, nor is it affiliated with the Italian Football Federation. They have established the Lega Federale Calcio Padania.Padania had gained provisional membership of the NF-Board in 2008 and was able to take part in the 2008 VIVA World Cup along with Assyrian people, Iraqi Kurdistan, Provence and Sápmi, which they won beating the Assyrian people in the final by 2–0. Padania retained their crown when they hosted the 2009 finals, beating Kurdistan in the final. They defeated the Kurds again in 2010 to lift their third VIVA World Cup. Their non-appearance at the 2012 finals meant they didn't make it four consecutive titles.
Now is a member of ConIFA.Paulus Khofri
Paulus Khofri (Syriac: ܦܘܠܘܣ ܟܦܪܝ, Persian: پولوس خفری), was an Assyrian composer, lyricist and painter. He was born August 7, 1923 in Baghdad, Iraq and died in Tehran, Iran in May 2000 at the age of 77.Syriac
Syriac may refer to:
Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic
Syriac Latin alphabet
Syriac (Unicode block)
Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars
Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syriac as their liturgical language
West Syriac Rite, liturgical rite of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Syriac Catholic Church
East Syriac Rite, liturgical rite of the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Chaldean Catholic Church
Assyrian people (Syriacs)
Syriac Malayalam, dialect of Malayalam, influenced by Syriac liturgical languageYuhanna ibn Bukhtishu
Yuhanna ibn Bukhtishu (Johannes Bukhtishu) was a 9th-century Persian or Syriac physician from Khuzestan, Persia.Yuhanna ibn Bukhtishu‘ (or Bakhtishu‘) was a member of a prominent family of Nestorian Christian physicians originally from Jundishapur in Khuzastan who worked in Baghdad from the 8th through the 10th centuries. The name is composite of middle Persian Bukht (saved) and Syriac Ishu' (Jesus), which means saved by Jesus or one whose saviour is Jesus.
Yuhanna ibn Bukhtishu was the illegitimate son of Jabril Ibn Bukhtishu (d. 870CE) who was physician to the caliphs al-Ma'mun, al-Wathiq and Al-Mutawakkil in Baghdad.Ibn Bukhtishu‘, who worked in Baghdad about 892CE, is known to have written a treatise on astrological knowledge necessary for a physician, but the treatise is now lost. It is uncertain whether he was in fact the author of a treatise on materia medica that is attributed to him in the extant copies, of which The National Library of Medicine has one.