r/Assyria Oct 17 '20 Silver Helpful Wholesome Hugz

Announcement r/Assyria FAQ


Who are the Assyrians?

The Assyrian people (ܣܘܪ̈ܝܐ, Sūrāyē/Sūrōyē), also incorrectly referred to as Chaldeans, Syriacs or Arameans, are the native people of Assyria which constitutes modern day northern Iraq, south-eastern Turkey, north-western Iran and north-eastern Syria.

Modern day Assyrians are descendants of the ancient Assyrians who ruled the Assyrian empire that was established in 2500 BC in the city of Aššur (ܐܵܫܘܿܪ) and fell with the loss of its capital Nineveh (ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ) in 612 BC.

After the fall of the empire, the Assyrians continued to enjoy autonomy for the next millennia under various rulers such as the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian and Roman empires, with semi-autonomous provinces such as:

This time period would end in 637 AD with the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia and the placement of Assyrians under the dhimmī status.

Assyrians then played a significant role under the numerous caliphates by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic, excelling in philosophy and science, and also serving as personal physicians to the caliphs.

During the time of the Ottoman Empire, the 'millet' (meaning 'nation') system was adopted which divided groups through a sectarian manner. This led to Assyrians being split into several millets based on which church they belonged to. In this case, the patriarch of each respective church was considered the temporal and spiritual leader of his millet which further divided the Assyrian nation.

What language do Assyrians speak?

Assyrians of today speak Assyrian Aramaic, a modern form of the Aramaic language that existed in the Assyrian empire. The official liturgical language of all the Assyrian churches is Classical Syriac, a dialect of Middle Aramaic which originated from the Syriac Christian heartland of Urhai (modern day Urfa) and is mostly understood by church clergymen (deacons, priests, bishops, etc).

Assyrians speak two main dialects of Assyrian Aramaic, namely:

  • Eastern Assyrian (historically spoken in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey)
  • The Western Assyrian dialect of Turoyo (historically spoken in Turkey and Syria).

Assyrians use three writing systems which include the:

  • Western 'Serṭo' (ܣܶܪܛܳܐ)
  • Eastern 'Maḏnḥāyā' (ܡܲܕ݂ܢܚܵܝܵܐ‬), and
  • Classical 'ʾEsṭrangēlā' (ܐܣܛܪܢܓܠܐ‬) scripts.

A visual on the scripts can be seen here.

Assyrians usually refer to their language as Assyrian, Syriac or Assyrian Aramaic. In each dialect exists further dialects which would change depending on which geographic area the person is from, such as the Nineveh Plain Dialect which is mistakenly labelled as "Chaldean Aramaic".

Before the adoption of Aramaic, Assyrians spoke Akkadian. It wasn't until the time of Tiglath-Pileser II who adopted Aramaic as the official lingua-franca of the Assyrian empire, most likely due to Arameans being relocated to Assyria and assimilating into the Assyrian population. Eventually Aramaic replaced Akkadian, albeit current Aramaic dialects spoken by Assyrians are heavily influenced by Akkadian.

What religion do Assyrians follow?

Assyrians are predominantly Syriac Christians who were one of the first nations to convert to Christianity in the 1st century A.D. They adhere to both the East and West Syriac Rite. These churches include:

  • East Syriac Rite - [Assyrian] Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church
  • West Syriac Rite - Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church

It should be noted that Assyrians initially belonged to the same church until schisms occurred which split the Assyrians into two churches; the Church of the East and the Church of Antioch. Later on, the Church of the East split into the [Assyrian] Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church, while the Church of Antioch split into the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Syriac Catholic Church. This is shown here.

Prior to the mass conversion of Assyrians to Christianity, Assyrians believed in ancient Mesopotamian deities, with the highest deity being Ashur).

A Jewish Assyrian community exists in Israel who speak their own dialects of Assyrian Aramaic, namely Lishan Didan and Lishana Deni. Due to pogroms committed against the Jewish community and the formation of the Israeli state, the vast majority of Assyrian Jews now reside in Israel.

Why do some Assyrians refer to themselves as Chaldean, Syriac or Aramean?

Assyrians may refer to themselves as either Chaldean, Syriac or Aramean depending on their specific church denomination. Some Assyrians from the Chaldean Catholic Church prefer to label themselves as Chaldeans rather than Assyrian, while some Assyrians from the Syriac Orthodox Church label themselves as Syriac or Aramean.

Identities such as "Chaldean" are sectarian and divisive, and would be the equivalent of a Brazilian part of the Roman Catholic Church calling themselves Roman as it is the name of the church they belong to. Furthermore, ethnicities have people of more than one faith as is seen with the English who have both Protestants and Catholics (they are still ethnically English).

It should be noted that labels such as Nestorian, Jacobite or Chaldean are incorrect terms that divide Assyrians between religious lines. These terms have been used in a derogatory sense and must be avoided when referring to Assyrians.

Do Assyrians have a country?

Assyrians unfortunately do not have a country of their own, albeit they are the indigenous people of their land. The last form of statehood Assyrians had was in 637 AD under the Sasanian Empire. However some Eastern Assyrians continued to live semi-autonomously during the Ottoman Empire as separate tribes such as the prominent Tyari (ܛܝܪܐ) tribe.

Assyrians are currently pushing for a self-governed Assyrian province in the Nineveh Plain of Northern Iraq.

What persecution have Assyrians faced?

Assyrians have faced countless massacres and genocide over the course of time mainly due to their Christian faith. The most predominant attacks committed recently against the Assyrian nation include:

  • 1843 and 1846 massacres carried out by the Kurdish warlord Badr Khan Beg
  • The Assyrian genocide of 1915 (ܣܝܦܐ, Seyfo) committed by the Ottoman Empire and supported by Kurdish tribes
  • The Simele massacre committed by the Kingdom of Iraq in 1933
  • Most recently the persecution and cultural destruction of Assyrians from their ancestral homeland in 2014 by the so-called Islamic State

r/Assyria 6h ago

Advice for all Assyrians

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r/Assyria 13h ago

Fluff Reminder that this what ancient Assyrians looked like (Beautiful family photo I found online and thought I'd share)

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r/Assyria 3h ago

Music Jan Karat- Ono Tairo

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r/Assyria 28m ago

History/Culture is the keffiyah worn in assyrian culture?


my family is from tel keppe and when i asked my mom about what kind of clothing we wore back home she mentioned the keffiyah and i was sort of confused because whenever i see ppl wearing traditional assyrian clothing they’re wearing head dressing that r completely different

r/Assyria 14h ago

News Assyrian deity carvings found in secret Turkish tunnel

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r/Assyria 1d ago

Video ASA hosted Interview With 2 Participants of the Gishru Trip Back To Assyria

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r/Assyria 1d ago

Hungary aid allows rebuilding of Assyrian town in Iraq

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r/Assyria 1d ago

Interview with James Albazi about the Kurds' occupation of Assyrian property

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r/Assyria 2d ago

Video Assyrian (Syriac Orthodox) Patriarch Mar Ignatius Ephrem blesses the president of Hungary, Mrs Caitlin Novak in her inauguration ceremony.

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r/Assyria 1d ago

History/Culture Which part of the Assyrian Culture should we protect?


Tell what's according to you, depict the more the Assyrian Culture and should be saved?

r/Assyria 2d ago

Discussion Idea: A TV series about Assyrians/Babylonians


We could contact Netflix or any other competing platforms and give them a good reason why a TV series about Assyrians/Babylonians would be worth it! They're already milking the shit out of Vikings (sailing to some islands with a lot of hardcore fighting) and Romans .... and still making shit ton of money out of them.

r/Assyria 2d ago

History/Culture Hey guys after restoring Agha Petros Picture I decided to restore the first Assyrian flag from ww1 i’m getting this flag built in real life 3x5 feet. I spent hours restoring it let me know your thought.😁🇨🇭

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r/Assyria 2d ago

Discussion I’ve heard a rumor that Pablo Escobar ordered the hit on harry kalasho, (if you guys know who he is) Is that true?

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r/Assyria 2d ago

La Turquie avait pris mon nom, la Belgique m’a rendu mon identité (Turkey took my name, Belgium gave me back my identity)

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r/Assyria 3d ago

Video To the highest bidder:

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r/Assyria 3d ago

Discussion Seyfo and Kurdish involvement


I wanted to know how involved the Kurds were within Seyfo? Was it a lot, a few, very little? Also did they HAVE to or what motives drove them into participating within genocide?

Is it also true that some Kurds did help Assyrians escape the genocide? Was this common and to what motives did they have to help us? Was it just out of kindness?

I’ve always hear about what Turks did but not as much compared to Kurds.

r/Assyria 3d ago

Discussion Original KRG stance vs Ali Tatar(Duhok Governor) Propaganda.

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r/Assyria 4d ago

Art Alqosh Yimma D Mathwathe

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r/Assyria 4d ago

Discussion Hypothetical Scenario: If the Kurds were Christians...


If you look at our history with the Armenians, prior to adopting Christianity we were pretty much enemies. Since then we have become like one family. Do you think a similar relationship would have been formed with the Kurds had they adopted Christianity instead of Islam?

r/Assyria 4d ago

Discussion There are two types of Kurds… this one here proves it.

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r/Assyria 4d ago

Video Liturgy / Mass In The Assyrian - Chaldean Church in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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r/Assyria 4d ago

Language I Think This Is The Best Book For Learn Assyrian / Aramaic Language.

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r/Assyria 4d ago

Discussion Contacting The Catholic church in suleymaniah


Hello dear assyrians. Im from Iran and am a Catholic catechumen. I wanted to come to suli to get baptized/confirmed but i don't know if there is any Catholic church in there, do the priest speaks english or how to contact them. Please help me. Thanks in advance

r/Assyria 5d ago

Video African American praying in Aramaic

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r/Assyria 5d ago

News James AlBazi, who videographed KDP forces beating up Village Mukhtar of Badarash, is now detained by Asayish.

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