Visited by people since October 15, 1998

 

YOU ARE EXPERIENCING
ANOTHER PRODUCT OF

 

 

 

The Assyrian Legacy...

 

Mesopotamia. Inventors. Warriors. These are the common "buzz words" Assyrians commonly use when describing their heritage. Yet these simple words cannot begin to describe the legacy of the descendants from the cradle of civilization. Our forefathers originated from a land rich with natural resources, the land formed by the two river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. Food production in the Fertile Crescent rendered a settlement of, and later a migration to the area dating back well into the sixth millennium. In turn, irrigation techniques, pottery and cloth production, building methods and copper workings developed as villages and towns expanded. The lack of natural protective boundaries drove Assyrians to become effective sodiers and military leaders. Fortification walls tell us that there were risks of attacks from the outside, hence the development of warfare and strategic planning. This surge in population necessitated social organization, laws and legislation, and defense tactics so as to protect private property (evidenced by stamp-seals that were used to mark ownership) and minimize potential conflicts in the region. The Assyrian empire flourished as a result of its implementation of a network of administrative officials, methods of diplomacy and of course, military power.

One of the most important contributions by the Assyrians to world history was their policy of deportation of conquered populations; its long term significance was racial mixing. This process inevitably paved the way for a growing cultural unification of the entire area, thereby affecting the subsequent history of the Near East. Assyriologist Saggs feels that this amalgamation provided a homogeneous environment which made hellenization possible after Alexander, which in turn contributed to the spread of Christianity, and later, the spread of Islam as well. The Assyrians, as rich and powerful as they were, never considered themselves exclusive nor self-sufficient. Assyrians never legislated against foreigners, rather they fostered trade with other peoples. In fact, Assyrians were always open minded and willing to study, accept and adopt new ideas, methods and skills from abroad. The unifying factors which preserved the Assyrian culture were language and religion. The Assyrian language, a dialect of Akkadian, written in cuneiform and preserved on clay tablets, documents, myths, epics, laws, astronomical observations, mathematical problems, historical records, business contracts and more. In ancient Mesopotamia every city had its own god who was thought of as a being in human form, Ashur being the foremost national god. Each citizen saw himself in a society where all the authorities to whom he was subordinate were in the last resort representatives of a single power-source, the king. Furthermore, all the gods in this divine world were in the last resort manifestations of, and accountable to a single god who embraced all the divine powers.

Farming, animal herding and trade were the primary vocations of the Assyrians. The breeding of animals served two purposes: food and land transport. The economy utilized metals, land and grains as media of exchange. Credit practices were also used to facilitate trade, where silver was advanced and later repaid in the form of commodities, sometimes with interest! In Assyria, the marketplace, not government, dictated the price of goods. With trade came the development of technology and a thirst for knowledge which ultimately led to Assyria?s great contributions to society, e.g. a system of roadways and an efficient postal system.

 

As a result of its geographic position, Assyria served as a forum for international trade. Communities that were not self-contained economically and were vulnerable to crop failure depended upon the surpluses of their neighbors. Hence the direct link between trade and war in ancient Assyria. The abundance of copper, bronze and iron in the region prompted the development of weapons, tools, utensils and even shoes for horses! Assyrians were truly great innovators and masters of their environment. Assyrians were proponents of chemical technology: food preparation utilized heat processes, chemical processes preserved meat by pickling and microbiological processes, using enzymes, bacteria and fungi produced beer, wine, yogurt and cheese. Other chemical processes include glass-making, perfume-making, dyeing, tanning and the preparation of alkalis and soap.

 

In the arts and sciences, Assyrians exhibited great talents. From the ground plans of temples and palaces, through furniture, jewelry, carved ivories and cylinder seals, to sculptures, wall paintings and reliefs, Assyrians have made a significant contribution to the humanities. Assyrian astrology related primarily to affairs of the state, and its predictions were arrived at by applying traditional interpretations to current events in the heavens, such as eclipses, rings around the moon or positions of the planets. Assyrian medicine was comprised of oils, wine, salt and plants. These natural products were used to alleviate symptoms and cure aliments.

As Nineveh replaced the old Assyrian capital of Ashur in political and commercial importance, Sennacherib set out to rebuild the city and make it the new capital. Evidence of small private individual dwellings signified the importance of family in the social structure, which was patriarchal in both legal and social aspects. Town planning, architectural innovations, heating methods, sanitation and the development of infrastructure were all incorporated in this massive engineering project...the remains of which are still visible today.

Our history illustrates a people with great vigor, motivation and conviction. The fact that we remain a people to this day is indicative of our Assyrian nature. We must recognize the fruitful achievements and astounding legacy of our forefathers and build upon them. Our ancestors learned and absorbed from their neighbors in order to strengthen their empire. In turn, we must continue to strive for intellectual excellence...for it is in knowledge that lies the power to become a nation united.

 

By:
Alina F. Sargiss


İGRAFEEX, 1994 - 97. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

B I O G R A P H I E S

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE STAFF OF THE ASSYRIAN DIRECTORY OF CALIFORNIA / GRAFEEX. ALTHOUGH, RESOURCES FOR SOME ARTICLES ARE ADOPTED FROM VARIOUS PUBLICATIONS AND SOME BIOGRAPHIES ARE SUBMITTED BY THEIR ORIGINAL OWNERS, THIS ENTIRE SECTION IS FOR VIEWING PURPOSES ONLY. GRAFEEX MAY ALLOW REPRODUCTION RIGHTS OF THIS MATERIAL FOR CERTAIN OCCASIONS, OTHERWISE, REPRODUCTION IN ANY FORM
WILL BE CONSIDERED UNLAWFUL.

İGRAFEEX , 1993 - 1997. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The AssyrianInfo is in the process of gathering and presenting more biographies as they become
available to our staff. The objective is to
build a complete reference directory.

COMING SOON

The Following Pages Will Soon Be Available Here

*Assyrian Art Museum *Assyrian History
*Assyrian Links *Assyrian Names