Assüürlased on muistsetel aegadel Mesopotaamiat valitsenud Assüüria ja Babüloonia impeeriumide järeltulijad. Impeeriumi kokkuvarisemine 6.--7. sajandil e.Kr pillutas assüürlased Lähis-Idas laiali. Juba 1. sajandil läksid nad ristiusku. Nagu armeenlased, on ka nemad Osmani impeeriumi veretööde ohvrid. 1915. aastal tõrjusid türklased nad välja mägialadelt, kus nad olid pooliseseisvana elanud. Aasta pärast Iraagi iseseisvumist 1932. aastal korraldas armee assüürlaste seas tapatalgud kättemaksuks koostöö eest endise koloniaalvõimu Suurbritanniaga.


The Assyrians

   The Assyrians were Semitic people living in the northern reaches of Mesopotamia; they have a long history in the area, but for most of that history they are subjugated to the more powerful kingdoms and peoples to the south. Under the monarch, Shamshi-Adad, the Assyrians attempted to build their own empire, but Hammurabi soon crushed the attempt and the Assyrians disappear from the historical stage. Eventually the Semitic peoples living in northern Mesopotamia were invaded by another Asiatic people, the Hurrians, who migrated into the area and began to build an empire of their own. But the Hurrian dream of empire was soon swallowed up in the dramatic growth of the Hittite empire, and the young Hurrian nation was swamped. After centuries of attempts at independence, the Assyrians finally had an independent state of their own since the Hittites did not annex Assyrian cities. For the next several hundred years, the balance of power would shift from the north to the south
Mesopotamia Reader
Sennacherib: The Invasion of Judah
   Beginning with the monarch, Tukulti-Ninurta (1235-1198 BC), Assyria began its first conquests, in this case the conquest of Babylon. The Assyrian dream of empire began with the monarch, Tiglat-Pileser (1116-1090), who extended Assyrian dominance to Syria and Armenia. But the greatest period of conquest occurred between 883 and 824, under the monarchies of Ashurnazirpal II (883-859 BC) and Shalmeneser III (858-824 BC), who conquered all of Syria and Palestine, all of Armenia, and, the prize of prizes, Babylon and southern Mesopotamia. The Assyrian conquerors invented a new policy towards the conquered: in order to prevent nationalist revolts by the conquered people, the Assyrians would force the people they conquered to migrate in large numbers to other areas of the empire. Besides guaranteeing the security of an empire built off of conquered people of different cultures and languages, these mass deportations of the populations in the Middle East, Mesopotamia, and Armenia, turned the region into a melting pot of diverse cultures, religions, and languages. Whereas there would be little cultural contact between the conquered and the conquerors in early Mesopotamian history, under the Assyrians the entire area became a vast experiment in cultural mixing. It was the Assyrian monarch, Sargon II (721-705 BC), who first forcefully relocated Hebrews after the conquest of Israel, the northern kingdom of the Hebrews. Although this was a comparatively mild deportation and perfectly in line with Assyrian practice, it marks the historical beginning of the Jewish diaspora. This chapter in the Jewish diaspora, however, never has been really written, for the Hebrews deported from Israel seem to have blended in with Assyrian society and, by the time Nebuchadnezzar II conquers Judah (587 BC), the southern kingdom of the Hebrews, the Israelites deported by Sargon II have disappeared nameless and faceless into the sands of northern Mesopotamia.

   The monarchs of Assyria, who hated Babylon with a passion since it constantly contemplated independence and sedition, destroyed that city and set up their capital in Nineveh. Later, however, feeling that the Babylonian god, Marduk, was angry at them, they rebuilt the city and returned the idol of Marduk to a temple in Babylon. The last great monarch of Assyria was Ashurbanipal (668-626 BC), who not only extended the empire, but also began a project of assembling a library of tablets of all the literature of Mesopotamia. Thirty thousand tablets still remain of Ashurbanipal's great library in the city of Nineveh; these tablets are our single greatest source of knowledge of Mesopotamian culture, myth, and literature.

   After Ashurbanipal, the great Assyrian empire began to crumble; the greatest pressure on the empire came from their old and bitter enemies, the Babylonians. Aided by another Semitic people, the Medes, the Babylonians led by Nabopolassar eventually conquered the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and burned it to the ground, ending forever Assyrian dominance in the region.

   Simply put, the Assyrian state was forged in the crucible of war, invasion, and conquest. The upper, land-holding classes consisted almost entirely of military commanders who grew wealthy from the spoils taken in war. The army was the largest standing army ever seen in the Middle East or Mediterranean. The exigencies of war excited technological innovation which made the Assyrians almost unbeatable: iron swords, lances, metal armor, and battering rams made them a fearsome foe in battle.

Science and Mathematics

   The odd paradox of Assyrian culture was the dramatic growth in science and mathematics; this can be in part explained by the Assyrian obsession with war and invasion. Among the great mathematical inventions of the Assyrians were the division of the circle into 360 degrees and were among the first to invent longitude and latitude in geographical navigation. They also developed a sophisticated medical science which greatly influenced medical science as far away as Greece.

Richard Hooker

The Chaldeans


Who Are The Assyrians?

by Nicholas Aljeloo, The Assyrian Australian Academic Society (TAAAS)
Posted: Friday, August 25, 2000 02:22 pm CST

Who Are The Assyrians?

Nicholas Aljeloo
The Assyrian Australian Academic Society (TAAAS), Sydney, Australia

July 2, 2000

Although uniting the children of one nation through their ancestral language, the term “Syriac-speaking” also allows much space for them to divide themselves into Assyrians, Chaldeans, Aramaeans, Syriacs, Syrians, Maronites, and the list goes on. It does not allow for one national designation for one people. Some may disagree but the people that call themselves any of the above things today are Syriac-Speaking or of a Syriac-Speaking background and heritage and hence are of Assyrian origin. Many issues disputing whether they are Assyrian, apart from the concept of self determination, can be answered by some statements and research made by eminent historians and scholars, purely from a historical and scholarly perspective. In this paper I shall set out to demonstrate first of all about whom we can say are Assyrians, the regions inhabited by Assyrians in the Middle East and what Assyrians have always called themselves. I have gathered and shall be using the opinions of eminent scholars to back up these arguments and using them I shall make apparent the origin of the word Syriac itself, linking to the ancient Assyrians. Although the research has not yet been exhausted, it has been proven without a doubt that all “Syriacs” are Assyrians.

The Political Dictionary of the Modern Middle East[1] defines Assyrians as, “Remnants of the people of ancient Mesopotamia, succeeding the Sumero-Akkadians and the Babylonians as one continuous civilization. They are among the first nations who accepted Christianity. They belong to one of the four churches: the Chaldean Uniate, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Syrian Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. Due to the ethnic-political conflict in the Middle East, they are better known by these ecclesiastical designations. The Assyrians use classical Syriac in their liturgies while the majority of them speak and write a modern dialect of this language. They constitute the third largest ethnic group in Iraq with their communities in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Russia and Armenia. Today they remain stateless and great numbers of them have left their homeland and settled in Western Europe, the United States and Australia.” The author of this fails to mention the members of the Syriac Maronite Church as Assyrians or to recognise the existence of non-Christian Assyrians.[2]

The Assyrian homeland encompasses what was once the core of the Assyrian Empire of antiquity and are now the areas of northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria, although there are Assyrian communities all over the Middle East, especially Lebanon. Northern Iraq includes the regions of Mosul, Dohuk, ‘Aqra and Zibar, Mezuriyeh, Gourzan (Gahra), Supna (Amadiya), Zakho and Adiabene (Arbil and Kirkuk). Southeastern Turkey includes the Assyrian regions of Hakkiari (Hakkari), Van, Bohtan (Cizre), Bedlis (Bitlis), ‘Ayn-Sliwa / ‘Ayn-Slibo (Siirt), Amed / Omed (Diyarbakir), Lagga / Lago (Lice), Tur-‘Abdin (Jebel Toor), Mirda / Merdo (Mardin), Siverek, Tella-Shleela (Viransehir), Kharput (Harput), Malatya, Perin (Adiyaman), Palu, Gerger, Shmeishat (Samsat), Urhay / Urhoy (Sanliurfa), and ‘Ayn-Tawa / ‘Ayn-Towo (Gaziantep). Northwestern Iran includes the Assyrian region of Urmia and Salamast and northeastern Syria includes the Khabour region, the Euphrates valley and the villages around Aleppo. Now, though, Assyrians no longer inhabit many of these places as a result of the persecutions that are the topic of today’s seminar.[3]

The Assyrians, whatever their region of origin, call themselves “Surayeh / Suroyeh” and their language “Surit / Surayt” according to their plentiful dialects[4]. Those of the Nineveh Plains and those of the southern and eastern regions of Hakkiari in southeastern Turkey call themselves “Sorayeh” and their language “Surath”, those of the northern and central regions of Hakkiari and Van in southeast Turkey and Salamast in northwestern Iran call themselves “Su-reh” and their language “Soorit”, those of the Urmian regions of northwestern Iran call themselves “Surayi” or “Suryayi” and their language “Suyrit” or “Suyrayi”, and those of the regions to west of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon, call themselves “Suroyeh” or “Suryoyeh” and their language “Surayt” or “Suryoyo”. To be sure, many opinions have been expressed about this name, but relatively few of them have approached the truth.

It is safe to say that the ethnic, national, civic, administrative and other aspects of Assyrian daily life stopped being written and preserved by the Assyrians after the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC, with the exception of the few periods when the smaller Assyrian kingdoms of Adiabene, Haran and Osrhoene were in power. Thus, Assyrian history entered a national literary vacuum and began to live its long period of foreign manipulation.

The Word “Syriac” - its Meaning and Link to Assyrian The name “Assyrian” is read differently in different languages. In the Egyptian hieroglyphics it is read as “Iswer”[5], in ancient Assyrian Aramaic and latter Syriac records, “Athor / Othur”, in Biblical Hebrew and Arabic Assyrian is translated variously as “Ashouri” or “Athouri”, in Greek Assyria becomes “Assyrios” and Assyrians, “Assyrioi”.

In accordance with the law of phonetics[6] “Athoraya / Othuroyo” has changed to “Assuraya / Ossuroyo” because in the evolution of certain words we see that the letter “TH” changes into “S”. According to these phonetic rules, the sounds T, TH, S and SH are all interchangeable. The change of sound from “TH” to “S” is noticeable in the dialects of the Assyrians of Sena (Sanandaj, Iran)[7], Margosoreh (near Zakho, Iraq) and S’irt (Siirt, Turkey)[8] in the Eastern group of dialects and those of Mlahso / Mlahtho and ‘Ansha (near Diyarbakir, Turkey)[9] and Bo-Qisyon / Ba-Qisyan (in Tur-‘Abdin, Turkey) in the western group. The Assyrians of these villages pronounce the word “qriytha / qriytho” as “qriysa / qriyso” (village) and the word “Allahutha / Alohutho” as “Allahusa / Alohuso” (divinity). By the same law of phonetics it becomes very easy to identify the word “Assuraya / Ossuroyo” with “Suraya / Suroyo”.[10]

We may also say that “Suraya / Suroyo” comes from “Ashuraya / Ashuroyo”. As Dr. John A. Brinkman[11] points out, the name Ashur is written the same way, in cuneiform, for different usages and was only prefixed with different syllables signifying city, god, or country (matu – the modern Assyrian mata / motho). Around 1000 BC, the pronunciation of Ashur changed to Assur[12], again showing the interchangeability of the letters SH and S. Probably as early as 337 BC when Alexander the Great and his men passed through Assyria, they called the “Ashurians” they met “Assurioi” not only because of the new pronunciation of Ashur, but also because they do not have the letter SH in their alphabet and it is also a non-existent sound in the Hellenic language.

What we now know as Syria once consisted of several city-states, which were later incorporated into the Assyrian Empire. The region became known as ‘Abar-Nahra (‘Across the River’) by the Assyrians, Babylonians and later by the Persians. The Greeks and the Romans knew it as Syria, short for Assyria, because it had long remained under Assyrian rule[13]. When, in 64 BC the Roman Emperor Pompey annexed the land west of Euphrates and incorporated them into the Roman Empire, the area came to be known as Syria, short for Assyria, as Assyria proper lay within the boundaries of the Persian Empire[14]. As The Encylopedia Americana writes, under the entry Syria, “It is now certain that the name “Syria” is derived from the older “Assyria”[15]

Herodotus, a well-known Greek historian from the mid-fifth century BC, clearly indicates that the word “Syrian” is merely a Greek corruption of the word “Assyrian”. He describes the Assyrian infantry in the Persian Army during the rule of King Xerxes (485-465 B.C.) as follows:

“The Assyrians went to war with helmets upon their head, made of brass, and plated in strange fashion, which is not easy to describe... These people, whom Greeks call Syrian, are called Assyrian by the barbarians. The Babylonians serve at their rank”[16]

The last part of this passage has also been translated as, “The Greeks call these people Syrians, but others know them as Assyrians.”[17]

In the first century prior to the dawn of Christianity, the geographer Strabo (64 BC-21 AD from Amisos in Pontus) confirms Herodotus’ statement by writing that,

“When those who have written histories about the Syrian empire say that the Medes were overthrown by the Persians and the Syrians by the Medes, they mean by the Syrians no other people than those who built the royal palaces in Babylon and Ninus (Nineveh); and of these Syrians, Ninus was the man who founded Ninus, in Aturia (Assyria) and his wife, Semiramis, was the woman who succeeded her husband... Now, the city of Ninus was wiped out immediately after the overthrow of the Syrians. It was much greater than Babylon, and was situated in the plain of Aturia.”[18]

Strabo also lists several of the traditional cities (including Nineveh and 'Calachene' [Kalhu]) in the Assyrian heartland, which he calls ‘Aturia’.

Mor Michael the Great, Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East (1166 - 1199), wrote[19] that those who inhabit the land to the west of the Euphrates River were properly called Syrians, and by analogy, all those who speak the same language, which he calls Aramaic (Aramaya / Oromoyo), both east and west of the Euphrates to the borders of Persia, are called Syrians. He continues that the basis of the Syriac language is from Edessa (Sanliurfa, Turkey). Even more interesting is his list[20] of the names of peoples who possessed writing. Among them are “Aturayeh d-hawiyn Suryayeh / Othuroye d-hawiyn Suryoyeh” (“Assyrians”, i.e. “Syrians”), by which presumably he means the ancient Assyrians, whom he identifies with his contemporary speakers of Syriac. This book by a learned native speaker shows the continuous equating of the terms “Syrian” and “Assyrian” for many Eastern Christians. His late Holiness, in his famous history book, also makes mention that, “It has been shown by Assyrian and Chaldean kings that they used the Aramaic language and were familiar with its literature” and that, “They are all, then, usually named; the Chaldeans by their old name and the Ashurayeh / Oshuroyeh, i.e. Athorayeh / Othuroyeh, are called after Ashur who settled Nineveh. This is what Eusebius says. The Jewish writer Josephus, calls Ashur Assur, as in the Greek language, and makes mention of, Assur, the ancestor of the Assurayeh / Ossuroyeh, who built Nineveh. He mentions that the Chaldeans are those that with the Assyrians (Assurayeh / Ossuroyeh) and Aramaeans form the Syriac (Suryayeh / Suryoyeh) people.”[21] The name Syrian was never used by Arabs to identify themselves with until the creation of the Syrian Arab Republic. Even then, they do not call themselves Syriani / Suryani (the name of the Christian “Syrians”) but Suri.[22]

After many centuries, it is evident that the Syriac appellation had not really changed. Badger in early nineteenth century noted that the oldest and the most important Chaldean community in Diyarbakir could only boast of the name ‘Sooraya’ and ‘Nestoraya’[23]. Even by the end of the nineteenth century Rassam concedes that, “the peasantry do certainly call themselves ‘Sooraya’ and ‘Msheehaya’…”[24]

It is also worth noting that the historically constant designation of the Assyrians by the Armenians, Turks and Persians is Asori / Asuri (Assyrian; an adjective meaning “belonging to Ashur”). Horatio Southgate wrote the following about the Assyrians of the Kharput region, “I began to make enquiries for the Syrians… I observed that the Armenians did not know them under the name which I used, Syriani; but called them ASSOURI, which struck me the more at the moment from its resemblance to our English name Assyrians, from whom they claim their origin, being sons, as they say, of Assour, (Asshur,)…”[25] and “Their common language in the district is Turkish, in which language it is that the Athour of the Syriac and Arabic is converted into Asour, and the Athouri of the Arabic, (Syriac, Othoroyo,) into Asouri, the common name of the Syrians.”[26]

Assyrians and the Aramaic Language

Dr. Brinkman states that in the 7th century BC, Aramaic had begun to replace Assyrian in Assyria and the king had to insist that letters from his officials be written in Assyrian and not Aramaic. He also theorises that the Aramaic language took over because of its simple alphabet as opposed to the 600-700 syllables of the Assyro-Babylonian language.[27] In fact it had attained such a high status in the Assyrian imperial period and was used so profusely by Assyrians that, as highly esteemed Assyriologist Dr. Simo Parpola relates, “The Greek historian Thucydides reports that during the Peloponnesian wars (ca. 410 BC) the Athenians intercepted a Persian who was carrying a message from the Great King to Sparta. The man was taken prisoner, brought to Athens, and the letters he was carrying were translated “from the Assyrian language”, which of course was Aramaic…”[28]And so it becomes evident that, just as Aramaic was the Imperial Assyrian language, the very similar Syriac (or if one agrees with the Greek historians - Assyrian) also later became the ecclesiastical language of the Assyrian Eastern Churches.

Assyrian Continuity?
Anglican missionary, Rev. W. A. Wigram, in his book The Assyrians and Their Neighbours[29] (1929), writes, “The Assyrian stock, still resident in the provinces about the ruins of Nineveh, where Mosul, Arbela, and Kirkuk were already great cities, seem to have been left to its own customs in the same way.”[30]

Esteemed Assyriologist, H.W.F. Saggs, Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages of the University College at Cardiff, tells us of the continuity of the Assyrian identity from the fall of the Assyrian Empire and into the Christian era, in his book, The Might That Was Assyria[31]. He states that,

“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 carried on with agricultural life, remembering traditions of the former cities. After seven or eight centuries and after various vicissitudes, these people became Christians. These Christians, and the Jewish communities scattered amongst them, not only kept alive the memory of their Assyrian predecessors but also combined them with traditions from the Bible. The Bible, indeed, came to be a powerful factor in keeping alive the memory of Assyria and particularly of Nineveh. Nineveh was at the center of one of the most fascinating of the Old Testament legends, the story of the prophet Jonah who attempted in vain to escape the God-given duty of preaching to the great pagan capital. On part of the ruins of Nineveh there was a sacred mound, and this - probably originally an Assyrian temple - Christians and Jews came to identify with the spot where Jonah preached. A church was built on the site. When the Muslims conquered Mesopotamia in the seventh century AD, they adopted the local traditions of the Christians and Jews amongst whom they lived, and Jonah became significant to Muslims no less than to Jews and Christians. A mosque replaced the church but retained - and retains to this day - the association with Jonah.”[32]

Dr. John A. Brinkman[33] states that, “For several centuries people lived in Assyria after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (614-610 BC) and followed the Assyrian religion and can be classified as Assyrians.”[34]When asked if there was racial continuity in Assyria after the empire Dr. Brinkman replied, “There is no reason to believe that there would be no racial or cultural continuity in Assyria since there is no evidence that the population of Assyria was removed.”[35]

The Historical Evidence

Dr. Brinkman makes mention of the fact that Assyrian cuneiform did not die out with the empire’s destruction, four Assyrian texts written by Assyrians in the Assyrian dialect and script being found at a site called Dur-Katlimmu (Sheikh Hamed), on the Khabour River in Syria. These are “couched in Assyrian legal formulae” and date to the second and fifth years of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, i.e. from 603-600 BC, between nine and twelve years after the fall of Nineveh. So Assyrian cuneiform had survived the empire.[36] James Henry Breasted in his book; The Conquest of Civilization[37], mentions that, “... the remnants of the Assyrian army fled westward and with Egyptian support held together for a short time...”[38]. Professor Saggs also says that, even after the empire’s fall, the Assyrians were “not yet finished”[39]. Those of the Assyrian army that were able to flee Nineveh escaped hundreds of miles westward to Harran, where Ashur-Uballit II of the Assyrian royal family was proclaimed king of Assyria.

Konstantin Petrovich Matveev in his book The Assyrians and the Assyrian Question[40] writes that, “It has been documented that Meneshe, an Assyrian prince, was able to escape towards the north during the fall of Nineveh and fortify in the mountains of Ashur.” (Translated from Arabic by Fred Aprim[41]). A report by Reuters from 1987, states that, “The new evidence shows that rather than dispersing, surviving Assyrians formed small societies some distance away from their main cities.”[42] The new evidence refers to Assyrian Tells (mounds) in Iraq dating to the third century BC, three centuries after the fall of their empire. Dr. Brinkman also states that in the Assyrian religious capital Assur, Assyrians tried to keep the religion alive by rebuilding two shrines and reusing inscriptions and decorations from the old temples.[43] Rev. W. A. Wigram in his book The Assyrians and Their Neighbours also states that, “At least they [the Assyrians] were there in days of Tiglath-Pileser I, the founder of the Assyrian Empire in the year 1000 BC, and they were there still in the year 400 BC, when Xenophon with his Greeks fought his way homeward through their mountains.”[44]

In 400 BC, a Greek general named Xenophon, employed by the Persian king Cyrus son of Darius, wrote his chronicle[45] as he and his 10,000 strong army retreated through Assyria along the river Tigris.He always comments on the plentiful supplies that were available, arguing a considerable production of grain. He writes that Assur, which was now called Kinai, was a prosperous city and that his army bought cheese and wine from the local inhabitants. It seems, from his writings, that many of the buildings and houses had survived the destruction of the city in 614 BC. He also wrote of many surviving villages in Kalhu, which was now called Larissa, and of a village called Mespila near a large undefended fortification, which may be identified with today’s Mosul.[46]By careful examination of the topography described by Xenophon, scholars have determined[47] that the fortification was the city of Nineveh, though under the eponymic name of Ninus. Mespila, on the other hand, as suggested by Hayim Tadmor[48] and Stephen A. Kaufman[49], is the Aramaic ‘mashplah’ as heard by Xenophon from the local population, meaning "the fallen one". The Assyrians living in Mosul have never forgotten that their city had a glorious past. As E.B. Soane wrote in 1892, “The Mosul people, especially the Christians are very proud of their city and the antiquity of its surroundings. The Christians, regard themselves as “direct descendants of the great rulers of Assyria”[50]

Documents show that when Hurmizd Rassam was negotiating with the authorities to excavate one of the two tells at Nineveh, he was told that its legal name was “Ninua”. Though according to Xavier Koodapuzha, Mar Yuhannan Sulaqa, the first “Chaldean” Patriarch, was proclaimed Patriarch of “Mosul and Athour” on February 20th 1553 by Pope Julius III and Vatican documents originally refer to Sulaqa as the elected Patriarch of “the Assyrian Nation.”[51] Henry Burgess explains that this should not sound odd as, “In many Syriac manuscripts, Mosul is styled as Athour and it is not uncommon practice with ecclesiastical writers of the present day to use the same phraseology.”[52]Stephanie Dalley, though, writes that, “In Syriac Church literature ‘Athour’ is the name of Mosul, on the bank of the Tigris opposite Nineveh; but it also designates a metropolitan see, including Mosul, Nineveh and other towns.”[53]

Dr. Brinkman also makes mention that the Romans captured Nineveh, which they called Ninus, in 115 BC and again in 200 AD when they set up the province, which they named Assyria.The temple of Nabu at Nineveh was also repaired in the first century AD. Assyrian, Aramaic, and Greek inscriptions have been found in Nineveh, dating to this time. Kalhu was also resettled and the temples rebuilt.Assur became a great and prosperous city again and the temple of Assur restored. The inhabitants, though, had now lost the idea of a ziggurat as a religious building and began to use it solely as a watchtower.All the gods of the Assyrian pantheon were still being worshipped 800 years after the fall of the Assyrian empire.[54] This is backed up by esteemed archaeologist and historian Georges Roux in his book Ancient Iraq.[55]

Between the second century BC and third century AD, authors Patricia Crone and Michael Cook state in their book Hagarism[56] that,

“Assyria… had been left virtually alone by the Achaemenids and Seleucids; condemned to oblivion by the outside world, it could recollect its own glorious past in a certain tranquillity. Consequently when the region came back into the focus of history under the Parthians, it was with an Assyrian, not a Persian let alone Greek, self-identification: the temple of Ashur was restored, the city was rebuilt, and an Assyrian successor state returned in the shape of the client kingdom of Adiabene.”[57]

Georges Roux, the author of Ancient Iraq[58], mentions that after the introduction of Christianity into Assyria, “We know that some of the ancient temples were restored, that Ashur was worshipped in his home town, that a cult was rendered to Nabu in Borsippa until, perhaps, the fourth century AD.”

Roux further states that, "After the fall of Assyria, however, its actual name was gradually transferred to Syria. Thus, in the Babylonian version of Darius I inscriptions, Susa f, Eber-nari ("across-the-river," i.e. Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia) corresponds to the Persian and Elamite Athura (Assyria). Besides, in the Behistun inscription, Izalla, the region of Syria renowned for its wine, is assigned to Athura.” (Izalla or Izla / Izlo is the southern part of the Tur-‘Abdin region in which is the famous monastery of St. Eugenius)

Assyrians and Syriac Christianity

Aziz Suryal Atiya, a historian and professor of history, discusses the origin of Syriac / Assyrian Christianity under the heading of “Age of Legend” thus, “Assyrian or Syriac traditions link the establishment of Syrian [the Greek for Assyrian] Christianity with the earliest Apostolic age. Some even assert that the evangelization of Edessa occurred within the lifetime of Jesus Christ himself. Accordingly, the Nestorians promoted three legends in support of that contention while relating them to the three Magi and their visit to the infant Jesus, the story of King Abgar of Edessa, and the Acts of St. Thomas the Apostle... Whatever the historicity of those legends may be, the moral is that the roots of Assyrian Christianity are deep in antiquity. Though it may be hard to accept the hypothesis of Abgar V’s conversion around the middle of the first century AD, Abgar VIII (176-213) is known to have been a Christian from the testimony of Sextus Julius Africanus, who visited his court.”[59]

We read in ‘Edessa the Blessed City’[60] by J.B. Segal that Abgar the black of the first century AD wrote a letter to Narsai King of Assyria. Historical evidence indicates that Narsai King of Adiabene also known as King of Assyria was a contemporary of the Abgar the Great (177-204 AD). Reportedly the Parthians drowned Narsai in the Great Zab for his pro-Roman symphaties.[61]

A reference from the Encyclopedia Britannica CD 98 takes one back to the fourth century AD of Assyrian Christianity. “Aphraates became a convert to Christianity during the reign of the anti-Christian Persian king Shapur II (309-379), after which he led a monastic life, possibly at the monastery of St. Matthew near Mosul, Iraq... insulated from the intellectual currents traversing the Greco-Roman ecclesiastical world, the "Homilies" manifest a teaching indigenous to early Assyrian Judeo-Christianity.”

The history of the Assyrian Churches has no shortage of names of martyrs who affixed Assyrian to their names from the early days of Christianity. We read of Tatian the Assyrian, a philosopher who was born in AD 130, and Mar Behnam and his sister Sarah, the children of Sennacherib, king of Ashur, who were martyred in AD 352.[62]

Rev. Aubrey R. Vine in his book The Nestorian Churches[63] mentions that the Church of the East had Metropolitan Sees at Nisibis and Adiabene (Arbil) and Bishoprics at Nineveh and Singara, all formerly Assyrian imperial cities.[64]

Philip Hitti, Professor of Semitic literature at Princeton University, in his book History of Syria[65], writes that, “Before the rise of Islam the Syrian (Suryani) Christian Church had split into several communities. There was first the East Syrian Church or the Church of the East. This communion, established in the late second century, claims uninterrupted descent in its teachings, liturgy, consecration and tradition from the time the Edessene King Abgar allegedly wrote to Christ asking him to relieve him of an incurable disease and Christ promised to send him one of his disciples after his ascension. This is the church erroneously called Nestorian, after the Cilician Nestorius, whom it antedates by about two and a half centuries...”[66] Hitti continues later, “The East Syrian Church was represented at the beginning of the First World War by… members domiciled around Urmiyah, al-Mawsil (Mosul) and central Kurdistan. Those who survived have since drifted into Iraq and Syria. As an ethnic group they would rather be called Assyrians, an appellation that does not seem inappropriate when the physical features of many of them are compared with the Assyrian type as portrayed on the monuments.”[67]


The Assyrian nation, apart from undergoing an ongoing genocide, has also suffered a cultural genocide that has attacked the Assyrian identity and questioned its origins and unity as a people. Assyrians have come to be called Nestorians, Chaldeans, Jacobites, Syriacs, Syrians, Maronites and Melkites through religious influences and by the governments that now rule over portions of what is their ancestral homeland. As esteemed social anthropologist Dr. Arian Ishaya of UCLA in her paper Intellectual Domination and the Assyrians[68] states, there are different ways of dominating a people, those most direct being to take hold of their land and resources, deny them statehood, and force their manpower to do the labour work or fight the battles of the conqueror. But she also mentions that domination may also come in a more indirect, abstract form which is intellectual, this form being the most dangerous as it penetrates the victim’s inner feelings and thoughts. Thus, she determines, the victim remains unaware and willingly subjugates itself to intellectual domination.[69]

Dr. Ishaya goes on to point out that, last century the Assyrians fell victim to the wave of western Orientalism that swept the world, which attacked the culture of the “Easterners” and was an era when numerous diplomats and missionary movements attempted to “civilise” them. In the twentieth century, though, social scientists and academics replaced the missionaries or the diplomats of the previous century as the “experts” on the Assyrians. But although the experts have changed, the orientalist bias is still there, and reappears in a new guise. If one examines recent manuscripts and publications on the Assyrians one will notice that it has become almost fashionable for most dissertations, books, or articles to either directly or indirectly start with the question: “Are contemporary Assyrians really Assyrian?” Some claims from certain groups thus question the linkage of today’s Assyrians to those of antiquity. We hear of claims hinting that the Assyrians of antiquity simply disappeared and vanished from the face of the earth after the fall of their last capital in 612 BC, while, others imply that today’s Assyrians are different peoples, and it just happened that they coincidentally acquired that name some 150 years ago. One good example may be found in The Church of the East and the Church of England[70] by J.F. Coakley. This question is then followed by a painstaking comparison of the racial and cultural traits of the Assyrians of today with the remnants of archaeological relics to establish if the historical continuity between the two exists or not!

In Dr. Ishaya’s opinon, “What these scholars and some of their readers do not seem to realize is that to question the legitimacy of the name of today’s Assyrians is not a “scientific” act; it is a political one, because this is the type of question that the colonial powers raise to deny the territorial and cultural rights of several dominated peoples.”[71]

Dr. Ishaya then continues to mention the Kurds in Turkey, the Africans in South Africa and the Assyrians in Iraq, within the borders of which, the heartland of ancient Assyria lies. All of these peoples face the same problem. Their very name is denied so as to deny their national legitimacy. For the Turkish government the Kurds are “Mountain Turks”, and for the Afrikaners, the former white ruling minority of South Africa, the native Africans were just diverse Bantu tribes, and not a single people. In the same way the Assyrians are merely “Syriac-speaking Christians" from the perspective of the Arab Ba’athist government of Iraq, which also calls them Arab or Kurdish Christians. What Dr. Ishaya does not address is that the Turkish government also denies its Assyrian population the right to a national identity, calling them “Semite-Turks” or “Turco-Semites” or even, derogatorily, “Armenians”.[72]

Dr. Ishaya goes on to state that it is evident, in view of these facts, that, “ … scholars, by posing the very question of identity, are providing the ruling powers with a weapon to use against their minorities. What other purpose can an utterly unscientific question serve? Why is the question unscientific? Because there has been a tremendous amount of cultural and racial admixture among human societies through the centuries. Cultural and racial continuity is impossible to be established for ANY national group.

Moreover, during the 20th century old nations have been dismantled and new ones created without any regard to cultural and historical realities - as a glance on the map of Europe readily shows. In Europe after World War I people who shared the same language and culture were torn apart to constitute different “nations” and people with diverse linguistic and racial characteristics forcefully sandwiched together to form one nation. And since the arrangement suited the superpowers, no questions are asked as to the legitimacy of these nations on cultural or historical grounds and yet the Assyrians are on the millstone for those very reasons!”[73]

The Assyrians call themselves and other people of Syriac-speaking heritage Assyrians for a very simple and convincing reason: they are the age-old inhabitants of ancient Assyria. It is their homeland. They have churches there that date as far back as third and fourth century AD and still others, such as St. Mary at Kharput[74] and St. Mary at Urmia[75], that are of apostolic foundation. That is sufficient and says it all. There is no need to engage in the inconclusive argument of racial and cultural purity. When any nation says that it is what it is, it is that because its forefathers inhabited that region since time immemorial. The Assyrians say they are Assyrians because their forefathers inhabited Assyria and the French say that France is their homeland because they have lived there for many centuries. One claim is as valid as the other. What makes the French claim more respectable and that of the Assyrians questionable isn’t science. It is politics pure and simple. Thus, Dr. Ishaya concludes, “ … the question of whether the contemporary Assyrians are Assyrians, should never be asked. When a scholar makes that a topic of research, he is playing POLITICAL GAME in the guise of science. There is no excuse for the academics to remain naive any longer. The scholars have no choice but to decide what they want to do with their profession: put it in the service of the people or use it to promote the interest of the ruling powers. Whatever choice they make, they can be sure that they can no longer fool the people.”[76]

Thank you!

The Genetics of Modern Assyrians and
their Relationship to Other People
of the Middle East

by: Dr. Joel J. Elias
Professor (Emeritus), University of California
School of Medicine, San Francisco

The authors of the book "The History and Geography of Human Genes"1, published in 1994, and the abridged version in 19962, took on the monumental task of analyzing the vast number of research articles written about genetic properties of different human populations. The senior author, Prof. L.L. Cavalli-Sforza, Professor of Genetics at Stanford University, is considered one of the preeminent human population geneticists in the world, a field that he has been working in for over forty years. After eight years of collecting this massive information, the authors spent several more years doing the genetic and statistical analyses using sophisticated computer methods. The objective was nothing less than to define the genetic variations in the entire human population of the world and, from that information, to trace the origin and migration of modern humans to their present locations on the planet (hence the "History and Geography" in the title). As the American Journal of Human Genetics stated, "This book represents a landmark in biology. There is nothing of its kind... where the evolutionary history of a single species possessing a cosmopolitan distribution is distilled from genetic, morphological, and cultural data. It represents an essential historical source for all human biologists ... " And as the New York Times said, "Perhaps more than anyone else in his field, Dr. Cavalli-Sforza ... has been able to make sense of the whisperings of human ancestors that are recorded in the genes of present-day people."

For their study, the authors chose to use data from only those populations that had been in the same geographic area for at least 500 years. They considered them as the native indigenous people of an area ("aboriginal") that could be used to trace human population origins, relationships and migrations. From analysis of the genes in these populations, it became possible to determine not only the genetic makeup of a people and the genetic relationships of different groups to each other, but also to measure the "genetic distance" between them. The analyses showed that there were sufficient data to provide statistically significant information on the genetic characteristics of 491 different human populations. Assyrians were one of them
3-6. In this article, we will focus on the knowledge that has been gained about Assyrians and the genetic relationships between Assyrians and their neighbors, with the hope that it will lead to better understanding between the people of the Middle East.

Members of a specific human population, for example an ethnic group, identify with each other by a shared language and also by cultural, religious, social, geographic, and other features which are held in common. They distinguish themselves from other groups by the same criteria. What are "hidden" from external view are genetically determined attributes of the type that are only brought into the light by scientific methods such as those described in this book, and they reveal a very important component of a group - its genetic character. This can provide both a genetic definition of a group and also its relationships to other groups that would not be apparent otherwise. The use of language along with genetics to define groups is very useful, but linguistic change can occur much faster than genetic change and "languages are sometimes replaced by others of totally different origin in a very short time", as will be pointed out later in this article. As the authors state, "Only genes almost always have the degree of permanence necessary for discussing" the changes in populations that took place in the history of our species.

I have attempted the difficult task of presenting this information for the general reader in a concise way without compromising accuracy. Technical terms placed in parentheses are informative but not essential to understanding the basic ideas. But one technical element is crucial to the understanding of this information and I must briefly discuss it here. The chemical substance that makes up genes is DNA. A specific gene controlling the formation of a specific product may undergo a chemical alteration in its DNA ("mutation"). The product that it forms will then also be altered. We now have two forms of the same gene ("alleles") in the population and different individuals can get different forms of the gene. In the case of the familiar A, B, AB, and O blood types, whether an individual has the A form of the gene, the B form, or neither, determines the blood type. A human population can be genetically characterized by determining the distribution of the various forms of genes within that population ("gene frequency") - for example, what percentage of the population has the A, B, or O gene. When this is done for enough people and for enough different genes a "genetic profile" emerges for that population. Genes control the synthesis of proteins. In the "classical" studies that form the greater part of the material in the Cavalli-Sforza et al. book, the structure of the protein is analyzed as a genetic marker - the specific structure of the protein reflects the specific structure of the gene that codes for it. The proteins commonly analyzed as genetic markers are those that determine various types of blood groups, enzymes, blood serum proteins, hemoglobin, antibodies and cellular markers of the immune system (HLA system). In addition, direct analysis of DNA has recently become increasingly common and, of course, adds to the information pool about the genetic makeup of a people. In his very recent book
2a, Cavalli-Sforza says: "Results with DNA have complemented but never contradicted the protein data." An example of DNA analysis will be seen later as part of the discussion of Jewish genetics.

Analysis of the Assyrians shows that they have a distinct genetic profile that distinguishes their population from any other population. It is important to understand that this applies to the population as a whole, not to any one individual. Each individual can have a variety of genetic features, but it is when all the data for the individuals are assembled together that the population can become distinctive. The authors state that "The Assyrians are a fairly homogeneous group of people, believed to originate from the land of old Assyria in northern Iraq," and "they are Christians and are possibly bona fide descendants of their namesakes." The main research paper on Assyrians is that of Akbari et al. (3), who state "that the Assyrians are a group of Christians with a long history in the Middle East. From historical and archeological evidence, it is thought that their ancestors formed part of the Mesopotamian civilization." Akbari et al. examined some 500 members of Christian communities in Iran (Armenians and Assyrians from six localities) from whom specimens were obtained and examined for a number of blood group, red cell enzyme and serum protein systems. In the case of Assyrians, the researchers studied 18 different gene sites with a total of 47 different forms of those genes (alleles) in Assyrians in two regions of Iran - Urmia and Tehran. The particular gene frequencies of those 47 genes in the population formed the basis, along with the other two studies (4, 5), for establishing the distinctive genetic character of the Assyrians. A major finding of the study is that Assyrians, especially those in Urmia (their home area in Iran), are genetically homogeneous to a high degree. That is, an individual Assyrian's genetic makeup is relatively close to that of the Assyrian population as a whole. "The results indicate the relatively closed nature of the [Assyrian] community as a whole," and "due to their religious and cultural traditions, there has been little intermixture with other populations." The small size of the population is also a factor. The genetic data are compatible with historical data that religion played a major role in maintaining the Assyrian population's separate identity during the Christian era.

For most of that period Assyrians existed as a Christian minority in non-Christian majority populations, and adherence to their religion, abundantly documented in the historical record, would have provided a "genetic barrier" to gene flow from external groups. In analyzing other groups in similar situations, Cavalli-Sforza et al. arrived at this opinion: "The important conclusion is that the genetic origin of groups that have been surrounded for a long time by populations of different genetic type can be recognized as different only if they have maintained a fairly rigid endogamy [ marriage within the group] for most or all the period in which they have been in contact with other groups," although genes contributed by external groups ("gene flow") can be tolerated for many centuries or even millennia by a population, provided they are not on a large scale. Later in this article we will see an analogous situation with Jews, where a religious difference allowed them to maintain their genetic characteristics as a minority over many centuries while living among non-Jewish majority populations. In any case, the data provide unequivocal evidence that Assyrians as a people are distinguishable from all other population groups in their genetic characteristics and are not a part of any other population.

The second important contribution that emerges from the book is seen when genetic relationships are made between the 18 populations of Western Asia for which enough data were available to allow meaningful interpretation. The results are summarized in the "tree" shown in the figure. The horizontal scale at the bottom quantitates the genetic distance between groups. The individual populations are listed in the general order of their relationships. The three Arab populations at the lowest part of the "tree" (Saudi, Yemeni, Bedouin) are close to each other genetically but are so far separated from the others as to constitute what the authors call a separate "minor cluster." The remaining 15 groups constitute the "major cluster."

Our primary purpose here is to define the relationships of Assyrians to their closest neighbors in the Middle East, so we will focus on seven groups that appear at the top of the "tree." Of these, Iranian and Iraqi are defined by the country of origin, after exclusion of Kurds. Jordanian, Lebanese and Turkish also mean the country of origin. Assyrians and Kurds refer to specific groups of people. All those studied were indigenous people of the area whose roots in their geographic locations go back to at least 1500 A.D. Relationship pairings are shown: Turkish and Iranian, and Assyrian and Jordanian are "loose" pairings; Druse and Lebanese form a closer pair; and Iraqi and Kurdish people form an extremely close pairing. The closest genetic relationships of the Assyrians are with the native populations of Jordan and Iraq. In point of fact, however, all of the seven populations of interest are quite close to each other. There are no wide separations between any of them. This despite the fact that they contain members of three major language families: Indo-European (Iranian, Kurdish), Turkic (Turkish) and Semitic (Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese - Arabic; Assyrian - Aramaic). As the authors state, "In spite of the complex history of the Middle East and the great number of internal group migrations revealed by history, as well as the mosaic of cultures and languages, the region is relatively homogeneous" [genetically]. The least heterogeneous zone of Asia "is observed in the Near East, where the highest population densities have existed the longest, especially in the central part (Mesopotamia). Ten thousand years of agriculture, ancient urban developments, and internal migrations are probably responsible for this homogeneity." Thus, in that part of the world with the most ancient civilizations, an underlying genetic homogeneity has been "masked" by great cultural, religious and linguistic heterogeneity.

The latter point is also made in studies of Jews. Based on earlier studies using classical genetic methods
7 , Cavalli-Sforza et al. came to the conclusion "that Jews have maintained considerable genetic similarity among themselves and with people from the Middle East, with whom they have common origins." Evidence for the latter concept was very convincingly made and extended by an international team of scientists in a very recent research article8 ,widely reported in the press, in which the genetics of different Middle Eastern populations were studied using a completely different method than the classical methods that form the great majority of papers in the Cavalli-Sforza et al book. The research involved direct DNA analysis of the Y chromosome, which is found only in males and is passed down from father to son. Seven different Jewish groups from communities in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East were compared to various non-Jewish populations from those areas. The results showed, first of all, that "Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level." Furthermore, the genetic characteristics of Jews were shown to be distinctly different from (non-Jewish) Europeans, suggesting that very little admixture occurred between Jews and Europeans, even after about 80 generations of Jews in Europe. There was a similar distinct difference between Jews and North Africans. In striking contrast, there was an "extremely close affinity of Jewish and non-Jewish Middle Eastern populations [Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, Druze, Saudi Arabians] observed here ...[that] supports the hypothesis of a common Middle Eastern origin" of these populations dating back about 4,000 years. The differences between the populations were not statistically significant, demonstrating once again the close genetic relationship of Middle Eastern populations to each other. In fact, the Palestinians and Syrians were so close to the Jews in genetic characteristics that they "mapped within the central cluster of Jewish populations." As one of the Israeli scientists on the team said, "Eventually people will realize that they are not that different." Peace through Genetics?

Let us examine the situation in two areas of the Middle East where a radical change in the population and language occurred rapidly without being accompanied by a significant genetic change, and try to explain it. The land that now forms the nation of Turkey (Anatolia) was once a part of Byzantium. Greek (Christian) was the major influence there. The Turkic-speaking people arrived there from Central Asia in the 11th century A.D., spread successfully throughout the land and Turkish eventually became the dominant language as a Turkish nation was established. Turks are, as the authors state, "the only major group in the region that speak a language originated at a great geographic distance (probably in the Altaic region)." The pre-existing people in Anatolia, however, did not physically disappear. The genetic studies show that the majority became part of the new Turkish population. The genetic constitution of the Turks today is much closer to their nearest geographic neighbors, although none is a Turkic-language population, than to the Turkic-speaking populations of Central Asia. The authors interpret this to mean that "the Turkish language was imposed on a predominantly Indo-European-speaking population (Greek being the official language of the Byzantine empire), and genetically there is very little difference between Turkey and the neighboring countries. The number of Turkish invaders was probably rather small and was genetically diluted by the large number of aborigines." And [ in Turkey] "language replacement has occurred essentially without, or with very little, gene replacement."

In view of the authors' theory explaining the genetic characteristics of the population in Turkey, it seems reasonable to consider the possibility that a similar type of event may have occurred in the Arab world of Mesopotamia and its adjacent regions - Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon (and presumably also Syria and Palestine) - to explain the genetic characteristics of those populations. In the 7th century A.D., after the conversion to Islam, the Arabs of the Arabian peninsula conquered large areas, including Mesopotamia and adjacent regions. Arabic became the major language of the region and an Arab nation was established there under Islam. But again, the pre-existing indigenous population, mainly Christian (including Assyrians), did not physically disappear, and the majority must have become part of the Arab population. Looking at the figure, one sees a very large genetic separation between the Arabs of the South - Saudis, Yemenites - and those in the region of Mesopotamia - Jordanian, Iraqi. The latter two groups are much closer genetically to the four non-Arab people of the region that we are interested in (Turk, Iranian, Kurd, Assyrian) than to the Arabs of the Arabian peninsula. As in the case of the Turks in Anatolia, these findings provide a clue that a relatively small number of Arabs from the Arabian peninsula may have carried out the conquest of a region with a much larger population, which included a number of cities, and that although the dominant language, religion and culture changed, the genes of the previous population may not have been significantly diluted and were transmitted to the present population of that region.

Finally, as seen in the figure, the two Indo-European language populations, the Iranians and the Kurds, are genetically closer to the Turks and the Semitic language group of Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese, Assyrian, than they are to their nearest Indo-European language speaking neighbors - Armenian, Pathan, Hazara Tajiki. In fact, the figure shows that the latter are part of a separate subcluster from the one in which the Iranians and Kurds are located.

The results of these scientific studies lead to the startling realization that Turks, Iranians, Kurds, Iraqis, Jordanians, Lebanese are more closely related genetically to Assyrians than they are to other members of their own respective language families in Asia. These seven groups (and Jews) are genetically close. The great language, cultural and religious differences are not reflected in the most fundamental aspect of their biology - their genes, which are the most accurate indicators of their shared origins and ancestry. If this were widely known, would the Assyrians seem so "different" to the others? Would changes in attitude begin to take place, especially among the intellectual and academic communities and the younger generations?

We stand with hope at the dawn of a new millennium. For mankind in general, the future holds exciting scientific prospects for understanding our past and present genetic nature. The tiniest amounts of DNA recovered from people who died thousands of years ago can now be exactly reproduced billions of times, providing abundant material for analyzing the genetic nature of ancient ancestors ("genetic archeology"). The "whisperings of our ancestors" can now be heard by us with our DNA amplifiers. Molecular genetics is poised to take understanding of the human race to heights undreamed of just a few years ago. Within the year there will occur one of the most momentous events in human history - the complete definition of the entire human genetic code (genome) of about 100,000 genes ("human genome project"). We will be able to see the complete DNA blueprint for creating a human being, God's handwritten letter to us
9. Future research will show how little difference there is between us in our DNA, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to understand how much of our humanity we hold in common.

Also standing at the dawn of the new millennium are the Assyrians - on the brink of extinction. For over 1900 years since they accepted Christianity and established the Church of the East, the Assyrians in the Middle East have survived for the most part as a religious and language minority. While this preserved their identity and kept them from disappearing, it came at a terrible price. The history of the Assyrians reads like one long unbroken story of massacre, persecution and indescribable horror, culminating in the 20th century with genocide and diaspora, followed by even more persecution and massacre. Was it just a coincidence that the first fratricide occurred in the Middle East, when Cain murdered his brother Abel? Will we ever be free of the curse of Cain? Will the younger generations of the Middle East release their souls from the dark forces of the past? Will the knowledge that Assyrians are their "blood relatives" begin to change the perception of Middle Eastern people about Assyrians? Will it be too late for the Assyrians?

References and Footnotes

1. Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., Menozzi, P. and Piazza, A. The History and Geography of Human Genes. 1994. Princeton University Press. Unabridged Edition.
2. As above, Abridged Paperback Edition. 1996. Contains the text of the Unabridged Edition, but not the hundreds of pages of genetic maps; has an index, and references to literature that were cited in the text. Only the unabridged version has the references for research articles that were used to arrive at each population group's genetic analysis, listed by name for each population; also, the tables of gene frequencies.
2a. Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. Genes, Peoples, and Languages. 2000. North Point Press (division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux), New York. The book is a summation of the author's work written for the general reader.
3. Akbari, M.T. et al. Genetic Differentiation among Iranian Christian Communities. Am. J. Hum. Genetics, 38: 84-98. 1986. [Armenians and Assyrians].
4. Papiha, S.S. et al. Isoelectric focusing of vitamin D binding protein (Gc): Genetic diversity in the population of Iran. Jpn. J. Hum. Genet., 30: 69-73. 1985.
5. Amin-Zaki, L. et al. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency among ethnic groups in Iraq. Bull. WHO, 47:1-5. 1972.
(References 3,4 and 5 were used to establish the Assyrian genetics in the Cavalli-Sforza et al. book).
6. Ikin, E.W. et al. The blood groups and haemoglobins of the Assyrians of Iraq. Man, 65:110-111. 1965.
7. Carmelli, D. and Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. The genetic origin of the Jews: A multi-variate approach. Hum. Biol., 51:41-61. 1979.
8. Hammer, M.F. et al. [12 authors]. Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes. Proceedings National Academy Sciences USA. The article appeared online on the website of the journal ( on May 9, 2000, in advance of print publication. At the next issue of the journal, May 23, the article was still only online. Presumably, it will be in print in the following issue - June 6.
9. The entire DNA code is written in an "alphabet" of four "letters," A, T, G, C, which stand for the four bases found in DNA - adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine. The bases are lined up in a precise sequence to create a specific gene, say one that has 1,000 bases. Alteration of even one of the bases is a mutation.
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