Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM UT
The cover image shows an illustration of a ninth century BC, ancient Assyrian relief, where King Ashurnasirpal II, is standing in reverence on the side of the Tree of Life. On the right, is a relief from the gate of the 4th century AD, Mar Behnam Monastery, in the Plain of Nineveh, where the cross is portrayed as the Tree of Life.
At the bottom of the illustration is a picture drawn by Henry Layard in mid-nineteenth century, showing his Christian Assyrian workers wearing their traditional conical hats that resemble the helmets worn by the ancient Assyrian soldiers. For comparison, the author has added to the side of the drawing, a photo of a relief showing an ancient Assyrian Calvary soldier wearing a metallic helmet.
Though the Christians of Iraq trace their origin to the ancient Assyrians, some Western writers have expressed doubt about such a possibility, because history books make no mention about what happened to the ancient Assyrians, after their 612 BC defeat by the Babylonians and the Medians.
This has led to the mistaken assumption that they were defeated into extinction. Contrary to the popular belief, ancient Assyrians survived their 612 BC defeat, and their descendants continued into the Christian era. As Assyrialogist H.W.F. Saggs puts it: "The destruction of the Assyrian empire did not wipe out its population. They were predominantly peasant farmers, and since Assyria contains some of the best wheat land in the Near East, descendants of the Assyrian peasants would, as opportunity permitted, build new villages over the old cities and carry on with agricultural life, remembering traditions of the former cities. After seven or eight centuries and various vicissitudes, these people became Christians."
Other Assyriologists such as Simo Parpola, Robert D. Diggs, Giorgi Tsereteli, and Iranologists like Richard Nelson Frye have come to the same conclusion. Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh presents historical and archaeological evidences to document these facts. It provides information about the survival of the ancient Assyrians after their fall, in the cities of Ashur, Hatra, Nineveh, Harran, and other places. Evidences suggest that some aspects of the ancient Assyrians religion and culture survived into the Christian era among their descendants. The 2nd part of the book deals with the history of the Christians of Iraq, who consider themselves descendants of the ancient Assyrians, but since the 2003 invasion of that country by the United States, they have been subjected to various forms of persecutions, by the Islamists. Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh describes their extreme suffering, heroism, and achievements.
Assyrian Information Management (AIM)
What Happened to the Assyrians?The Assyrian Empire is well known to the readers of the Old Testament and the students of history. It began as a small country located in Northern Mesopotamia, known today as northern Iraq. It gradually expanded to dominate most of the Middle East; from Egypt to the Persian Gulf, from there it reached to the Eastern Mediterranean, to the Taurus Mountains, the Southern Turkey, and Iran. Later empires such as the Persian, and Roman, owed much to the Assyrian Empire’s military and administrative legacy. However, after its 612 BC defeat by the Babylonians and the Medians there is no mention of what happened to the Assyrians in the history books. A new book by William M. Warda, titled: “Assyrians beyond the Fall of Nineveh,” provides irrefutable historical and archaeological evidences attesting to the survival of the ancient Assyrians, and the progression of their descendants into the Christian era.
Lack of information about the ancient Assyrians, in the contemporary history books is primarily because Greek writers who wrote about them referred to them by names such as: Surios, Surioi, Surie, and Suros, which were wrongly interpreted, to mean Syrians, by the later historians. However, Herodotus, in the following statement attests to the presence of the Assyrian troops in the Persian Army. He writes:
He even gives the name and the lineage of the Persian commander who led them into war:
By barbarians, Herodotus meant ancient Persians, who in their inscriptions mention Assyria, and Assyrians as part of their empire.
Existence of the Assyrian communities in the cities of Ashur, Hatra, Nineveh, Edessa/Urhay, and other places where the ancient Assyrian religion was worshiped, during the early centuries of Christianity, provides compelling evidences about the transition of the ancient Assyrians into Christianity.
The 2nd part of the book deals with the history of the Christian Assyrians after the fall of Nineveh. It includes: information about their encounters with the people of other nationalities that ruled their homeland, including: the Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Sassanians, Arabs, Mongols, and Turks. The book also describes the Christian Assyrians’ extreme suffering, heroism, and achievements.
Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh is a historical nonfiction, but reads like an amazing novel, because, it tells the story of a pacifist people struggling to survive in a world dominated by warlike conquerors who were committed to destroying them.
William M. Warda was born in Iran; he arrived in the United States to further his education and has lived there since. He has done extensive research about the history of the ancient Assyrians after the fall of Nineveh, and about the history of the Christian Assyrians. He has written dozens of articles about these two subjects that have been published in the Assyrian publications, and on the Internet. In 2003 he established the www.christiansofiraq.com website, to bring to the attention of the world, the persecution of the Christians of Iraq by the Islamists. Warda has served as the president and member of the board of directors of the Assyrian American Association of Southern California.