Assyrian continuity after the fall of the empire:612 BC-1900 AD

On The Role of Aramaic in the Assyrian Empire
Hayim Tadmor
When the territories west of the Euphrates were conquered...Aramaic became the second language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.  Assyrian reliefs beginning from the time of Tiglath-pileser III provide numerous portrayals of a scribe writing on a tablet or a board, side by side with another scribe writing on papyrus or a parchment scroll. Th[e] pictorial rendition undoubtedly corresponds to the phrases "Assyrian scribe" (tupsharru Ashuraya) and "Aramaic scribe" (tupsharru Aramaya) that occur together in the various documents, referring to officials in the imperial service.
Assyrian Identity in Ancient Times and Today
By about 700 BC, the Aramaic alphabet effectively replaced cuneiform as the [Assyrian] Empire's everyday writing system.
Post Empire

The Melammu Project:

Aramaic = Assyrian language

5th century BCE
Achaemenid Empire
Greek philosophers and scholars

Thucydides reports that the Persian Artaphernes, who was carrying a message from the Great King to Sparta, was taken prisoner, brought to Athens, and the letters he was carrying were translated from the Assyrian language.

Thucydides 4.50.2:
He was conducted to Athens, where the Athenians got his dispatches translated from the Assyrian character (Assuri?n grammat?n) and read them.
[T]he Hebrew alphabet that [Jews] use today is referred to as Assyrian Script (in Hebrew, K'tav Ashuri).
Satraps and Cyrus The Great (

Assyria or mat Ashur (the land of god Ashur) was long-destroyed by the time Achaemenid rule shaped history. Today its capital Ashur may vanish beneath water, threatened by earth?s most destructive element; mankind. An area west from River Tigris formed a satrapy together with Babylonia named Athura meaning ?Assyria?, while another portion fell within Media?s satrapy ??Mada??. Assyrian influences tenaciously remained. Its god Ashur adopted by Babylonia became Marduk... Assyrians were active under Achaemenid power with governors administrating Athura and other personages whose Assyrian names are recognizable appear in the Book of Nehemiah (circa 450 B.C.) citing a Sanballat as satrap of Samaria in 400 B.C. Xenophon mentions a certain Belesys, satrap of Syria. This name is identified by certain scholars with the above Gub?ru, a Persian name and Belesys a Babylonian name. Most scholars agree the above Gobyras/ Gub?ru was the first Achaemenid satrap of Athura and the latter satraps eventually his descendants yet others maintain there were two Gobyras.

Urartu fell subject to the Medes possibly around 605 and was subsequently annexed by Cyrus. He once captured Armenia?s king, apparently releasing him for reasons of friendship towards the king?s son Tigran, a companion, according to Xenophon. Keeping its mysteries, the land simply folded into the 13th satrapy. Armenian contingents partook in Cyrus? Lydian and Babylonian campaigns. Some privileged governance remained with native Lords and Orontids as satraps, the latter claiming Assyrian descent.
Assyrians after Assyria
by Dr. Simo Parpola, University of Helsinki

When the Greek historian Xenophon 200 years after Nineveh's fall passed through the Assyrian heartland and visited the sites of two great Assyrian cities, he found nothing but ruin...
Karen Radner, 'Nineveh, Assyria's capital in the 7th century BC', Knowledge and Power, Higher Education Academy, 2011 []

From the reign of Sennacherib (r. 704-681 BC) onwards, Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire. It was then considered to be the world's largest city: according to the Old Testament book of Jonah, it was home to 120,000 people and took three days to cross.

Water For Nineveh
Like every irrigation system, these waterworks needed constant maintenance and repair. So when Nineveh fell to the Babylonian and Median armies in 612 BC the complex quickly ceased to function properly as no-one was financing or organising the regular upkeep that was necessary. This collapse contributed to the rapid abandonment of the city because without artificial irrigation it could not provide a home for its many inhabitants. Nineveh soon became a ghost town.
The Median ?Empire?, the End of Urartu and Cyrus? the Great Campaign in 547 B.C. (Nabonidus Chronicle II 16)
by Prof. Mag. Dr. Robert Rollinger
Institut f?r Alte Geschichte und 
Innrain 52
Universit?t Innsbruck

Footnote 26, page 7:
MacGinnis 2000, 335f. See also Jursa 2003 with further evidence. That also after 614 B.C. important elements of Assyrian culture remained alive in A??ur has recently been shown conclusively by Oelsner 2002, 32f who pointed to the fact that the gods A??ur and his wife Seru (?eru?a) are still mentioned in Aramaic inscriptions of the second and third centuries A.D. originating from Parthian A??ur. For the survival of the Assyrian culture in Tell Sheikh Hamad/Dur-Katlimmu after 612 B.C. see now K?hne 2002.

Similar map as Ashoor's, above.

‎'Turcicum Imperium' by J.Lhuilier and F.De Wit. c.1680
‎"A decorative map of the Turkish Empire with Arabia prominent. Detail extends from Italy and the Mediterranean eastards to include northern Africa, the Caspian and beyond."

The map, and a magnification of a segment of the map.  Note the Armenians and Kurds ("Curdi"), to the north and west of Lake Van respectively.


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Book: Christianity in China, Tartary, and Tibet
By Evariste R?gis Huc

This prince had been baptized in his youth under the name of Nicholas and on his first accession to the throne he showed such favour to the Christians and their religion as to build a great number of churches in Assyria and Mesopotamia and he published throughout his empire an edict by which he exempted from taxes and tributes all monasteries monks and bishops But this disposition was of brief duration He became Mussulman took the name of Ahmed and the title of Sultan and then persecuted the Christians and destroyed churches

View page source here:

From the same book above:

Timotheus who occupied the patriarchal see of Nestorians from 777 till 820 sent religious men preach the Gospel to the various nations of Upper Asia At this time there was in Assyria a very celebrated Nestorian monastery called Beth hobeh where a very learned monk versed in all the Syrian Persian and Arabic tongues His name was Subchal J su

Rough translation from French:

Histoire du concile de Trente, Volume 3
By Sforza Pallavicino, Jacques-Paul Migne

Protest made by some people only 472 473 ii explanation for this 475,475 protest was accepted by Paul III 4 8479 in Bologna about the protest and printed 498 499 510 Protest responses on behalf of the King of France read in consistory 571 response to that of Trent 632 is false that there protests and threats to the Pope from V to stay the operation of the Council 713 The Spanish bishops protest against the suspension of the council of 720 fear that Emperor and the Protestants 906 protest against council threats protest from 1022 1023 Protest of speaker Patriarch Assyrian Protest in Trent 1306 m 1 18 Protests of Count of the Moon prepared by the French 278 280 28 January protests from the French 349


Book: Rediscovering Japan, reintroducing Christendom: two thousand years of Christian history in Japan by Samuel Lee

In Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom, Japan's unvoiced Christian history and cultural roots are examined from an alternative perspective. It is commonly believed that Christianity was introduced to Japan by the Spanish and Portuguese missionaries during the 1500s; however, Samuel Lee draws on various forms of cultural, religious, and linguistic evidence to argue that Christianity was introduced to Japan through the Lost Tribes of Israel, who were converted to Christianity through the missionary efforts of the Assyrian Church of the East around A.D. 500.

Much of the evidence he discusses has become submerged into many Japanese folkloric songs and festivals and is to be found in temples. There are, for example, approximately three hundred words in Japanese and Hebrew/Aramaic that are similar. Further Dr. Lee outlines the history of Catholicism in Japan during the 1500s, the systematic persecution of Christians from 1600s to the 1800s, and the rise of Protestant Church in Japan. The historical portion of the book ends with an analysis and discussion of 21st century Japanese society. Lastly, in Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom, Samuel Lee questions the missiological methods of Western Christianity and advocates an approach based in dialogue between Christianity and other cultures.
The new encyclopedia of Islam by Cyril Glass?, Huston Smith

"The Nestorians are now frequently known as "Assyrian Christians", and groups are found in Syria, Iraq, Iran and the Malabar coast of India.  Beginning centuries ago, a large group of Assyrians have entered into communion with Rome and are called "Chaldean Catholics"

Rediscovering Japan, reintroducing Christendom: two thousand years of Christian history in Japan by Samuel Lee

"The inscription in Chinese indicated that there was a huge population of Assyrian Christians in China in the 8th century who followed Syrian liturgical form. "

Magic bowls are a type of amulet consisting of an incantation written on an earthenware bowl. (?) The incantations are most commonly written in black ink within the bowl, spiraling from the bottom upwards. (?) the most common form of using magic bowls was to bury them upside down under the floor of the house. (Unikat. Cf. Dan Levene: A Corpus of Magic Bowls. Incantation Texts in Jewish Aramaic from Late Antiquity. London: Kegan Paul, 2003. pp. 2-3).

Such bowls have a rather narrow chronological range. Based on the script of the text, comparisons with other pottery, and the context of those found in situ, they appear to have been in fairly popular use from the fifth to the eighth centuries C.E. (Michael G. Morony: ?Magic and Society in Late Sasanian Iraq?. In: Scott Noegel & al.: ?Prayer, Magic, and the Stars in the Ancient and Late Antique World?. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. p. 83).

Out of a sample of 411 bowl texts (both published and unpublished), nearly two thirds are Aramaic (62 percent), while most of the rest are divided between Mandaic (23 percent) and Syriac (13 percent)...(Ibid., pp. 93-94).

[T]he texts written on these bowls are viewed as constituting a genre because of what they have in common: a set of shared assumptions about the causes of evil and how to avert it. The content of these inscriptions reveals traditions going back to Neo-Assyrian and Babylonian protective rituals and therapeutic magic. (Ibid., pp. 84-86).
George Percy Badger. The Nestorians and their rituals (1842-1844)

[T]he following extract from the Khudra plainly teaches that the Nestorians refer the origin of their priesthood to a much higher antiquity, and that they regard the Christian priesthood to be a continuation, through Christ, of that same ordination which was first given to man by God Himself in the beginning of the world.

"Blessed is He Who hath given to the priesthood a degree ascending up to heaven. O glorious priesthood, open to me the store of your riches, that from your wealth I may fill the treasury of my thoughts. Thou wast highly exalted, but didst stoop low, and wast given to those of dust, O Thou mirror which hast been handed down to all generations! To the former people [the Jews] the horn of oil ; but to us the priesthood of Christ."

Geoffrey Khan.  The Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Barwar.

As already shown by Krotkoff (1985: 124?126), a number of lexical items in the NENA [Northeastern Neo-Aramaic] dialects, especially those relating to agriculture, can be traced back beyond Classical Aramaic to Akkadian or even Sumerian.
My questions emerge out of a research project (my dissertation based at Princeton) which centers on a Syriac martyr's legend of the 7th century AD -- Mar Qardagh of Arbela, Sasanian marzban of northern Iraq under Shapur II in the 360's AD. The text has several interesting connections with traditions/memories of Assyria, beginning with Qardagh's genealogy traced from the royal house of "Athor" (Assyria) via Sennacherib on his mother's side and Nimrod on his father's side.

According to his hagiographer, Qardagh's cult began at a place called Melqi (MLQI) in the vicinity of Arbela, where there was a fire temple and church complex that was later converted into a church and market complex and eventually became a monastery. But the site appears to have declined (or changed names??) during the medieval period, and modern scholarship has been unable to locate it. The story of the saint's life and his travels in the highlands north and east of Arbela make a location immediately to the NE of Arbela an attractive hypothesis.

Is the cult site of Mar Qardagh at "Melqi" described in the Nestorian literary sources identical with "Milqia", site of an Ishtar temple, noted in the Assyrian sources? If so, we have a very interesting case of long-term continuity in the religious topography of north Mesopotamia.
Joel Walker , 4 Nov 1997/Melammu Project
Now the saint of God, when he saw that they were busy with such deliberations, began to show them the truth of the Christian faith, and many of them on the other.  And under the count of an election they found a new village leader, whose name was Razmarduk.  Now through zeal clothed with God was the thorn bush of the Megu?dom weeded out of every village, and the faith in Jesus Christ conquered it and was planted against it.  And he distanced them from those gods of lies, ?they have ears, but do not hear; they have mouths, but do not speak; and have eyes, but do not see?.
The Chronicle of Arbela, Ch.5, Bishop Noh of Arbela (163-179 A.D.) Translated by Peter Kawerau
The present article focuses on the pottery excavated in the Red House in Tell Sheikh Hamad (North-Eastern Syria). The Full assemblage has been analysed and published by Kreppner (2006). The excavation took place between 1993 and 2000. The Red House covers an area of approximately 5400 square meters (ca. 6458 square yards) and is composed of three wings with 90 rooms (Fig. 2).

The Red House demonstrates that a high standard residence existed even after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The four cuneiform texts written in Assyrian script dating to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II prove that Assyrians inhabited the Red House during the time of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (Radner: 2002: 17). The fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire neither interrupted ceramic production, nor caused a change in wares and forms.

The analysis of the development of forms within the stratigraphical sequence (Fundbereiche 7.1, 4, 3.18, 3.19, 3.20) confirmed that the most frequent types of the Red House pottery are exactly those which were found both in the younger and the older stratigraphical units. Thus, a continuity of pottery production is proven from the mid seventh throughout the sixth as far as the beginning of the fifth centuries B.C.

As to the Red House, pottery of Neo-Babylonian style was not introduced. Contrary to various assumptions, also after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire during the so called ?Post?-Assyrian period ? the clay used for pottery was continuously prepared with straw temper and the forms known from the seventh century were also used during the sixth century B.C.

The current state of research does not allow a definite periodisation because comparable data covering the ninth, eighth, seventh or the fifth centuries B.C are still lacking. Probably it will be revealed that during this period the development of forms was much slower than this has been assumed so far. To sum up, an Iron Age pottery assemblage of a completely excavated and well dated household of higher standard from Northern Mesopotamia has now been analysed for the first time.


Offprint from Proceedings of the 4th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
Those maps in the first page, I agree that the one with the "Assyrian" person is really good, but I wouldn't be too enthusiastic by the other ones.

Here's another one from 1570 by Abraham Ortelius with Arzervm = Assyria:

He wrote something that relates to us today: "A representation of the Turkish Empire. Through unity, small things grow, through discord, they fall totally asunder."

Here's another map from 1596:


Look where "Assiria" is placed here.

Anyway, Ortelius wrote:

"This lake was called Geluchalat by Marco Polo ov Venice, by others it was called Argis, by Strabo the Martian swamps."

about a lake in the map. He uses other sources (from before his time) to name it. Think about that and the geographic location of Assyria in all of the maps.

Can I create a similar thread to this one but with "Aramean" in the title? (Edit: Doubt it's gonna draw much interest so forget it)
I found a rebuttal by a guy from the Aramean side about that map by John Speed and the "A Assyrian" thing:

The questions you would like to ask John Speed are: Why did he use the term Assyrian in his map:

Was it because:

a) The term othuroye was give to John Speed by our own?

b) Has he even been in the middle east?

c) Did our people know English back then?

d) Did he use his own geographical knowledge when he wrote Assyrian (despite no Assyrian state or empire existed in the 17th century)?

e) Was he thinking of the old testaments geography when he wrote Assyrian in a 17th century context?

f) Did he get the term Assyrian directly or indirectly through travelers that were representatives for the Catholic church of Rome, such as pope Paulus V among others?

I think it's simply due to him getting the term "Assyrian" by westerners and not directly from our own during his own time (there is no 16th to 17th century source that affirms that our people called themselves othuroye in Aramaic), probably indirect through pope Paulus V's usage of the term "Assyrian".

Also see

In the site above a comment is written by a turk in modern time.

?One of the most decorative maps of Turkish Empire from Speed's A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World. The map covers Ottoman territories in the Balkans, Anatolia, Levant, Arabia and North Africa. Size 390 x 510 cm.

Borders on each side show full length portraits of Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian men and women. Surprisingly, in this map of "Turkish Empire", there is not a Turk among the portraits of ethnic groups. The Arms of Turkey depicting a crowned crescent moon face figure is most certainly imaginary for I have never seen this in Ottoman sources.

Town plans at the top are of Famagusta, Damascus, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Cairo and Ormuz.?

I was actually also thinking about similar questions about that map when I was searching for other maps yesterday
I don't know if your reply was because of my last couple of posts but I assume so.

Either way, right is right and wrong is wrong. It's a discussion forum. It's the culture and HISTORY section. Most history is never set in stone.

I didn't have any hidden "Aramean" agenda with my posts but my point is just because something says Assyrian it doesn't make it 100% right all the time.

Posting some "evidence" and everyone going "khaya atur!!!! Aturaya!!!!!!!!1111!! Look at this, they still believe they're Aramean even with this!!!! Damn idiots!! Shalmaneser!!!!" is just as irritating as some other people singing "ahna kulan suryoye heja heja heja suryoye" with the bird flag.

Stop insulting them if you come with sarcastic remarks yourself.

It's like GGBW's post earlier in this thread "And that somehow makes us...Aramaean?". What somehow makes us Aramean (in some peoples eyes) is that we have sources by men from all three of our churches (including the church of the east) that, in whatever way, say we're Aramean (taken out of context or not). They didn't just choose Aramean from of a hat with folded papers of ethnicities in it. But on the flip side I can probably find just as many sources by our people that say we're Assyrian. We can't disregard it just because they're churchmen.

I think some of you would believe your parents weren't really your parents if an Assyriologist told you so.

Isn't it better that we know that whatever might not be as sure as we think it is so that we don't look like fools in a possible future situation?

If a post of mine is wrong or there's anything pointing against it please enlighten me. I'm in this section to learn.

And please no "what constitutes a nation", "ok, go and be Aramean, we don't want you here" or "you can't be 100% certain that your ethnicity is Aramean, Assyria was an empire with different ethnicites" talk. This is the history section. I'm not trying to slow down the Assyrian nations advancement. When I find or think something is wrong, from whichever side, I will post it.