Archive for June 2011

The Completion of the Assyrian Dictionary Project is a Huge Step for Humanity

By: Ashur Sada

In the context of Assyrians’ thousands of years of existence, 90 years sound like a blink of an eye, but it is a lot of time to be working on something. That is how long it took the University of Chicago to complete this project: the Assyrian Dictionary Project.

The book, which is more of an encyclopedia than an index, has 21-volumes, 28,000-word, and was collaborated on by close to 100 staff and scholars.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, which was one of hundreds of newspapers and websites that wrote about this huge linguistic accomplishments, the dictionary contains things as diverse as:
“Love notes and divorce papers. Accounting ledgers and legal briefs. Omens, letters between kings, thoughts on the benefits of flaxseed and the fortune-telling properties of sheep livers.”

For Assyriologists, this is like the holy-grail of  of Assyriology.  This dictionary will enrich the curious minds of millions and help in making just as many in appreciating Assyrian history even more.

It is interesting to see how much attention this has gotten, which is very refreshing to see. As forgotten and as ignored the Assyrians have been, given all their suffering in Iraq as of late, it is nice to see that the world still cares about our language and civilization at least.  And may they be reminded that the Assyrian people, just like their language, are still alive and doing their best to survive against all odds.

As an Assyrian myself, I am very proud and happy this project has been completed. The world will now get to see and have a glimpse into the mind of the ancient Assyrians, how they spoke, thought, innovated and helped establish the first civilization.

This is a giant step for all the staff at the university of Chicago to advance our modern civilization by connecting with people that pioneered the concept of a real and true civilization.

My last plea is to my own Assyrians, who at times seem to have forgotten how precious, holy and respected their language is: if non-Assyrians can spend almost their entire life trying to resurrect our language, shouldn’t you at least put some effort to learning or advancing it? shame on you if you don’t put any effort to learn it or teach it to your kids. You are missing a lot. You are missing the chance to connect with history and the first true civilization this world has seen. Your own ancestors!

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