Aramaic, Syriac or
Henry Bedros Kipha
Upon reading the supposedly
article ”Aramaic, Syriac or Assyrian?” I was astonished and stunned.
Since I am concerned of the history of the Aramean nation, I have
repeatedly read this because it contained many big mistakes and
falsehoods. I reveal no secret, when I say , that I was pleased when I
was asked to submit this mentioned article to scientific scrutiny and
review leaving the judgement to the historians, researchers and the
educated readers of this magazine ARAM.
It is truly sad to find that the
writer’s prime concern in writing this article is to address a “certain
group of readers” to “educate” them by disclosing new true facts about
the history of the old nations. But, the new and untrue fact apparent in
this article is that the writer endeavours, by all means, to prove that
the “old Assyrian language” never died, therefore the “old Assyrian
people” were never extinct. Especially noticeable is that he denies the
existence of an Aramean/Syriac people and an Aramaic/Syriac language.
Since the writer is established on this belief, he commits grave
mistakes in writing his article about the old (ancient) history.
In his writing he tries to
assert the following wrong ideas:
The name “Syrian” was given to Assyrian people by the Greeks,
therefore “the Syrians are Assyrians.”
There is no Aramean people, since he says “the Jews used to call
all other peoples Arameans as the Greeks used to call all other peoples
There is no Aramaic language in Syria other than the Assyrian
language which was spoken by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.
What is related about the struggle between the Aramaic and the
Assyrian languages and the defeat of the Assyrian language is false.
The so-called “modern Assyrians” and “Chaldeans” i.e. the East
and West Syrians, speak the old Assyrian language with little
alteration and this proves that the Assyrian language is not extinct and
was never displaced by another language, and that the Syriac language
today is only a continuation of the old Assyrian language itself.
The Aramaic/Syriac alphabet was invented by the Assyrians and not
by the Phoenicians, as it is suggested by some people.
The Syriac literature should be called Assyrian literature…..
It is known that many Eastern
Syrians abandoned their Syrian name and for many reasons, such as the
ignorance which spread in the East during the Ottoman Empire, where the
church belonging (church denomination), in that time, was considered as
a national belonging according to the Turkish “Millet system”. When the
great part of the Syrian Nestorians joined the Catholic Church and were
called Chaldeans the did not deny their old Syrian (Suryaye/Suraye)
name, while the Syrian Nestorians, and because of ignorance and lack of
knowledge, which prevailed in the East, they where easily cheated by the
Englishmen, in the nineteenth century to adopt the Assyrian name 
after it was extinct for about 2500 years. This new falsified name is
used now by the propagators of the “Assyrian nationalism” and they try
to use it for all the Christians in the Middle East.
For example Joseph Malek  in
his book “The British betrayal of the Assyrians, printed 1935, says: “in
spite of the fact that the Assyrians are one nation and are the heirs of
the Assyrian Empire, they are today religiously divided into five groups
namely; the Nestorians, Chaldeans, Catholic Syrians, Maronites and
Jacobites”. He then goes on to say that one simple trend is enough proof
to support this, that is, if the authorities discussed the Jacobites,
for instance, they never gave the impression that there is a Jacobite
nation”. The problem of the so-called “Assyrian nationalists”, today, is
that, inspite of all the scientific advancement in the study of the
ancient history, they are pre-determined to falsify the true facts and
the history and the history of the Syriac-Aramean nation. Truth is
stronger than fiction and true historical facts are stronger than
falsified political history. For example the Syrian Maronites never
heard that they belong to the Assyrian nation. Likewise, never did the
Eastern or Western Syrians hear of such a thing until a part of the
Eastern Syrians, namely the Nestorians, were deceived by the British in
the last part of the last century, and this does not mean that the rest
of the Syrians should be deceived also. If the Jacobite church was not a
sign to indicate that the Jacobites were a nation, it is because of a
simple reason that the Jacobites were only a part of the Syrian people
and the followers the Jacobite Church (Syrian Orthodox Church). The
Syrian Orthodox and the Syrian Catholic, recognized, in the past and
still recognize, that they are the descendants of the Aramean-Syriac
nation, and this is very clear in writings of forefathers. No doubt that
some Syrians, deceived by false articles and writings of the so-called
“Assyrian nationalists”, have abandoned their old Aramean-Syriac nations
name today. Instead of trying to prove his ideas which claim that the
“Syrians are Assyrians”, the writer should have acquainted himself with
the true history of the ancient Assyrians and Arameans. His faults and
falsehoods are the following:
PART 1 – ABOUT THE SYRIAN NAME.
The following question is posed
by the writer on the first page of his article: “Was there among the
Semitic peoples a group known as the Syrian people?”.
“Where did this name (Syrian)
come from?” He goes on to deny the presence of the Syrian people by
quoting from Herodotus of Halicarnassus, “ All the barbarian peoples
call this fighting people the “Assyrians”, but we [the Greeks], call
them “Syrians”. The name Syrian is, therefore, and according to the
writer, just a name given by the Greeks to the Assyrian people. This is
the conclusion reached by the writer of the article.
We say that there are several
other opinions about the source of this word “Syrian”, but the accepted
one is that the name “Syrian was etymologically taken from the word
But this fact, definitely, does
not mean that the Syrians are Assyrians according to the following
reason: It is an established fact to all scholars and researchers that
THE ANCIENT SYRIANS WERE CALLED ARAMEANS. The Arameans were, as it is
known, mentioned in the ancient history. They controlled the land of
“Amurru” (Syria) and “Beth Nahrin” (Mesopotamia), and even many parts of
Babylonia. The Assyrian king Tukulti-Apil-Esharra I (Tighlathpileser I)
1116-1076 B.C. stopped the Aramean invasions and left to us inscriptions
about his victories over the Arameans. But his successors were weak and
the Aramean people were able to build several small states and kingdoms
in Mesopotamia and Syria.
In the beginning of the 9th
century B.C. the Assyrian kings started to move expand their empire
towards the West in order to control communication roads and lay taxes,
they faced the small Aramean kingdoms and overcame them one after the
other until the last state in Mesopotamia which was the Aramean kingdom
of “Beth Adini” in 855 B.C.. This Assyrian expansion worried the
Aramean kingdoms in the country “Beyond the River” (‘Abar Nahra” in
Aramaic) i.e Syria. This Assyrian expansion motivated the Aramean king
of Aram-Damascus, Hadad ‘Adri “God my helper”, formed a military
alliance that contained the Aramean and the Phoenician (Canaanite)
states and cities to stop the Assyrian expansion and to push them back
in the so-called “Battle of Qarqar”  in 853 B.C. and the years that
followed 849 B.C., 848 B.C., and 845 B.C.
several Aramaic inscriptions written in the middle of the 8th
century B.C, in “Sfire” near Aleppo in northern Syria, referring to the
mentioned Aramean alliances, in which the terms “Upper Aram” and “Lower
Aram” and especially “All Aram” were mentioned .
After a strong Aramean
resistance the Assyrians prevailed and destroyed the kingdom of Damascus
in 732 B.C. and attached it to the Assyrian empire. The Assyrian
occupation of Syria lasted about 120 years, because the Assyrian empire
fell to the Chaldean-Arameans of Babylonia and the Medes in 612 B.C and
609 B.C. It is noticeable that the Assyrian kings left many documents
and inscriptions about this period and none of them mentioned the word
“Syria”, this means that the term “Syria” was not given at that time to
the “land Aram” (akkadian: mat Aramu/Arumu/Arimu/Arimi), or the
land “Amurru” i.e the west, which is the ancient Akkadian name of the
area. Instead we read that the Chaldeans (612 B.C-539 B.C) referred to
Syria as “Khatti”. King Nebuchadnezzar (Nabu-kudurri-usur) said:
“The rulers of Khatti,
between the river Euphrates and the country which lies in the side of
the sunset, carried the cedar wood from Mount Lebanon to Babylon”
Here we that Nebuchadnezzar
used the word “Khatti” meaning Syria a name used in ancient times
referring to the Hittite kingdoms in Northern Syria. After disclosing
these important facts I pose the following question: Do I have the right
to call the ancient inhabitants of Syria Aramean-Syrians, Hittites?
Most of the documents confirm
that the Greeks were the first who used the word “Syria/Suria”, and it
is very possible that took this word from the Persians who used the word
“Assurstan” to refer to the countries they conquered from the Chaldeans.
Here we must distinguish between the old name “Assur” i.e Assyria, which
was on the eastern banks of the Tigris to the border of the Lesser Zab,
and the administrative name “Assurstan”, which the Achamenian Persians
used 539-332 B.C., to the countries the conquered later in the West
which they also called “The fifth satrapy”, which included the countries
of : Babylonia, Assyria, Mesopotamia, the country Beyond the River
(imperial Aramaic: ‘abar nahra) i.e. Syria, Palestine and Cyprus. We do
not deny that the inhabitants of the old “Assur/Ashur” were Assyrians,
but we cannot find any historian today  who claims that the
inhabitants of “Assurstan” were only Assyrians!.
There are many Persian records
that list the names of the satrapies and states that formed the ancient
Achamenian Persian Empire, among which the inscriptions of Behistun (Bisitun),
Susa and Naqshe Rustam, in which the name “Assurstan” was used to
refer to the countries Babylon , Assyria, Ebirnari (Beyond The River),
and Mesopotamia. It is apparent that Babylon was later set as a separate
satrapy from Assurstan, which prove that the name Assurstan was only
administrative which could include more territory or less. But it did
not refer to any nation or an ethnic group. We find that the Old
Testament kept using the ancient name, the country Beyond the River
“‘Abar nahra” (Ezra 4:10) and some of the Persian inscriptions refer to
a ruler of the country Beyond the River and Cilicia/Kilikia. The
official Persian language in the writings of Susa used the term
“Assyrian people” TO MEAN THE INHABITANTS OF SYRIA (THE ARAMEANS), while
the Akkadian translation of the text used the term “the inhabitants
Beyond the River (Ebir nari)”
It is no secret to conclude that
the Greeks took the administrative name “Assurstan” from the Persians
and not from the Assyrians, because in the ancient Persian language the
prefix (A-) was dropped in the pronunciation before the consonants and
according to this “Assurstan” was pronounced “Surstan” The old
Arabic texts kept to us this term “Surstan”. In the Armenian
language also today the word “Asori” is used to mean the ancient
Assyrians and today’s Syrians. The Armenians consider Mar Ephrem “Asori”
and they mean Syrian and not Assyrian.
It was natural for Herodotos of
Halicarnassos to use the name Syrian, because it was the Persian name of
the whole area, and this mislead some Greek historians and caused them
to make many errors in their references to the location of the old
“Assyria” I am sorry to say that some of the Syrians today consider
themselves as descendents of the ancient Assyrian people. They actually
try to use the name “Syrian” as a synonym to “Assyrian”, using the
excuse that Herodotos wrote that the Greeks named the Assyrian people
Syrian. I have presented several proofs that the word “Surstan” was only
administrative and has no nationalistic bearings. Those who claim that
the name “Assyrian” was the name of all the inhabitants of Babylon,
Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine are requested to present, at least, one
Assyrian reference naming all the ancient inhabitants of the East as
I will not wait their answer
because they will never be able to come out with one, and I will carry
on my research in the historic and documents left to us by the old
Syrians in ancient times. We can also ask a question and say that if
some Syrians today doubt their belonging to the Aramean nation, did
their forefathers also have this doubt?
Alexander the Great (Megas
Alexandros) conquered the East in 333 B.C. and defeated the Achamenian
Persian Empire and kept his advance until he reached India. In the
organization of his empire he gave the name Syria to the country which
is now modern Syria. And this new step the name Syria became
administrative as well as geographic. Now the reader has to distinguish
between four names:
The old country Assyria (Assur/Ashur)
The administrative name SURSTAN during the Persian period 539-332
B.C. which included Iraq, Syria Palestine.
Syria- the state founded by Alexander The Great which after his
death became the portion of Seleucus I Nicator who founded the Seleucid
kingdom, known as the kings of Syria, When the Romans took over they
kept using the name Syria for modern Syria, Without including the
province of Mesopotamia and the coastal district of Phoenicia.
The Assurstan satrapy. It was part of the Persian Empire which
was established by the Sassanid family in the 3rd century
A.D. replacing the Parthian (Arsacid) kingdom. The area of this state
included the middle and the southern part of Iraq. The inhabitants of
this land called themselves ARAMEANS and they called their country “Beth
Aramaye” which means “the land of the Arameans”.
it is possible for us to notice the difference between the national and
4-The first name i.e. Assyria
was nationalistic and belonged to the ancient Assyrians
2-3-4-,That is the second, third
and forth were administrative names and did not identify any nationality
of any people.
If in the 5th century
B.C. the name Syrian meant Assyrian to the Greeks, this became untrue
when the Greeks later conquered the East, especially when the name Syria
became geographic and national. How can you explain the following
quotation from the writings of the famous Greek historian Xenophon
in the 5th century B.C., he said: “But when the king of
Assyria, after he subdued the SYRIANS who were a respectable nation,
before the surrender of........”
Who are the Syrians mentioned in
I have spent several months
researching and looking for an answer to this important question,
because of its importance in my study that I am preparing about the
I have come across several
proofs that confirm the fact that the name Syrian meant the Aramean
people. The well known Greek geographer Strabo in the first century
B.C., wrote “Posidonius [of Apamea in Syria] tells us that those
people who are called by the Greeks Syrians, call themselves Arameans.....”.
We find in the Septuagint (LXX),
the Greeks translation of the Old Testament, that the name “The land of
Aram” was translated into “The land of Syria” and the Aramean people as
the Syrian people and the Aramaic language (Hebrew: Arami) to the Syriac
language (Greek: Suristi). Nobody, of course, can claim that “Hadad Edri”,
king of Aram, was Assyrian, and nobody can deny that the name “Syrian”
became a synonym to the name “Aramean”.
Flavius Josephus, the known
historian , in his famous book about the history of the Jews, used
the name Assyrian to refer to the ancient Assyrian nation and he used
the Syrian name to refer to the Aramean nation. He says for example “Shem
the son of Noah had five children, Ashur, the second, built the city of
Nineveh and called his rich strong people “Assyrians”, and Aram the
forth was the father of the Arameans whom the Greeks named Syrians”.
History is truly a unique
science standing on its own merits like the other fields of science
looking for the truth and nothing but the truth, it does not depend on
the Bible division of peoples as an established fact. There is no
connection between the Assyrian and Arameans peoples except that they
are both Semitic people only. I have presented this proof to assure the
reader that the name “Syrian” was a synonym to the name “Aramean”
Depending on the roots of the
proved basis of history I endeavoured to find what the old Syrians said
about themselves and about their language. Did they say that they were
Syrians, Arameans or Assyrians?
Mar Jacob of Srugh , who
died in 521 A.D, in his praises to Mar Ephrem said: “Hono Da-hwo
klilo L-kulo OROMOYTHO u-be Ethqarbat themte L-shufre ruhonoye hono
da-hwo rhitro rabo beth SURYOYE”, that is to say, “"This
(Ephrem) who became a crown of glory for all the Arameans, and
through him they became near the spiritual splendors. He who became a
great orator among the Syrians."
Philoxinos (Akhsnoyo) of Mabbugh, died in 523 A.D. said in one of
his writings “"The
term stir or mix is used in most of the books written by our churchly
ancestors regardless of being Arameans or Greeks.".
Mar Jacob of
Edessa, died in 708 A.D. says in one of his homilies “Ho hokuth
hnan OROMOYE awkith SURYOYE”, which means “It in the same way
also we the ARAMEANS, that is to say the SYRIANS”. Mar Dionysios of
Tell Mahre, died in the 9th century, said the following:”u-men
horko shari bnay Hogor lamsho ‘bed la-bnay OROM b-she ‘bodo Mesroyo”,
which means “Since the descendants of Hagar (The Arabs) began to
enslave the sons of ARAM (The Arameans) an Egyptian slavery”
occupied the Syrian countries in the 7th century A.D. Why did
Mar Dionysios of Tell Mahre call the inhabitants of Syria Arameans? Is
I because they were Assyrians or simply Arameans?. One of the best
proofs is what the historian Michael the Syrians (also known as the
Great) (1126-1199 A.D) wrote in his famous Syriac history as a response
to the Greeks who reduculated the Syrians by saying “there arose no
king from your people…” Michael the Syrian wrote “Tub yad
Aloho kuthbinan ‘al uhdono d-malekwotho da-hway b-zabno ‘atiqo men umtho
dilan OROMOYE awkith bnay OROM ethqriw SURYOYE awkith bnay SURIYA”,
which means “By the help of God we will present what is said about
the ancient kingdoms that were built by our ARAMEAN nation that is to
say the sons (descendants) of ARAM who were called SYRIANS that is to
say the sons (inhabitants) of Syria……”
mentioned previously that the Aramaic inscription found at “Sfire” near
Aleppo in Syria, used the following names “Upper Aram” (Aleppo and its
environments), “Lower Aram” (Damascus and its environments) and “All
Aram” (all the country/city-states/kingdoms of Aram). The Greek
historians used to mention “Coele Syria”
a number of other historians  to connect the Greek “Coele” to the
old Aramaic name “Kool Aram”. These names were mentioned several times
in the history of Flavius Josephus in connection with the discussions
about the Aramean-Syrians. Josephus wrote “One of Aram’s four children
was Uz, the first, who built Damascus between Palestine and Syria which
is known as “Coele” Elsewhere he uses the names Lower Syria and
Upper Syria. Isn’t this a proof that the name Syria became synonym
resort to use so many quotes, to prove the issue, does not mean that we
have any doubt in the belonging of the Syrians to the Aramean nation,
but it was done to bring these proofs before some of the Syrians who are
ignorant of the truth and they call themselves Assyrians. My wish is
those people will make sure of the truth and follow it whatever it may
this part of my research by confirming that Herodotus use of the Persian
name “Assurstan” was strictly administrative when he said : “This
satrapy included all Phoenicia, Syria which is called Palestine, and
Cyprus. This was the fifth satrapy”. If the name Syrian meant Assyrian
then all the inhabitants of Palestine, Cyprus and Phoenicia would be
PART 2 –
THE EXISTENCE OF THE ARAMEAN-SYRIAN PEOPLE IS DENIED BY THE AUTHOR OF
of the article says:”The Jews called all other peoples ARAMEANS.
Therefore, to the Jews, people are only two kinds, Jews and Arameans, or
believers and heathens. Aramean in the Hebrew language means heathen.
And the language of the Arameans whatever nation he belongs to is
Aramaic which means the language of the heathens”. The writer has
forgotten that the Assyrians in their writings have preserved the name
ARAM. Did the Assyrians also divide all other peoples into two
groups: The Assyrians and the Arameans (meaning the other peoples)?.
stated in the first part of this study that the Aramaic writings have
preserved the name “ARAM” It is untrue that to the Jews the word
Aramean meant heathen, because if that was true they would have called
Egyptians, the Phoenicians and even the Assyrians ARAMEANS. If the
Arameans, before Christ, worshipped idols, that does not prove that the
Jews considered ever heathen Aramean. The writer aims at denying the
presence of an Aramean-Syrian people and therefore there is no Syriac-Aramaic
language. He knows very well that the Eastern Syrians have in the past
and are still today speaking the eastern Syriac-Aramaic language. He
aims to deny the Arameans as a people because he is aware that the
historians and scholars in Europe and America, together with Syrian
scholars themselves, call the language Syriac-Aramaic. Tens of articles
and books about the Aramean people and the Syriac-Aramaic language are
being published today by the universities in Europe and America. If this
people did not really exist in history, I would be surprised to see
these respected educational institutes risking their reputation by
writing about them.
PART 3 –
THERE WAS NO ARAMAIC LANGUAGE IN SYRIA OTHER THAN THE LANGUAGE WHICH WAS
SPOKEN BY THE ASSYRIANS.
of the article continues to say that there are no Syrian-Aramean people
and there is no Syriac-Aramaic language. This means to him that the
Syrians of today speak the Assyrian and Babylonian language. This
conclusion drawn by the author is really shameful because it contradicts
and violates all historical facts. It is really sad to find out that the
so-called “national Assyrians” have believed these fables and they are
trying now, by all means possible, to prove that the Syriac language is
the same as the Assyrian language.
have been lax in defending the name of their Syriac language during the
20th century. This laxness of the Syrians encouraged the
“national Assyrians” to pervert the facts concerning the name of the
Syriac language, until they called it their own “Assyrian” language, as
it appears in their own publications. As a result of these misleading
writings, many of the Syrians today, where cheated and really believed
that the so called Assyrians speak the “Assyrian language”.
in the Aramaic language Mar Tuma Odu (Chaldean catholic metropolitan of
Urmia in northwestern Iran 1855-1918) wrote in his Syriac dictionary
“The treasury of the Syriac language” (Simta D-Lishana Suryaya) printed
in Mosul – Iraq 1897 –“
that is to say “Arameans=Syrians” and “LISHANA ARAMAYA=LISHANA SURYAYA”
i.e. “Aramaic language=Syriac language”
searched to find the word “Assyrian” or the term “Assyrian language” it
was nowhere to be found, neither in this dictionary of metropolitan Mar
Tuma Odu nor in any other Syriac dictionary. It is nowhere to be found
because the Assyrian people are extinct and their Assyrian language (the
Akkadian), died with them. If the writer wishes to prove to the world
that the Assyrian people are not extinct he should find convincing
scientific means, and not to rade and steal the Aramaic-Syriac language
and to pretend that this is the Assyrian language.
have lost many important aspects of their historic heritage during the
last 700 years of back sliding and retardation. They refuse today to
lose their “holy language”.
PART 4 –
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE ASSYRIAN AND ARAMAIC LANGUAGES .
goes on to say that “the rumor about the struggle between Assyrian
and Aramaic languages, resulting in the defeat of the Assyrian language
is only imagery”. He even pretends that there was never an Aramaic
language. If the Aramaic never did exist, why does he refer to the
struggle between the Assyrian and Aramaic languages?. It is known that
the Aramaic language began to replace the Akkadian (spoken by the
ancient Assyrians) as an official language before the fall of the
Assyrian empire. The Chaldeans, followed by the Persians, also used the
Aramaic language . Even the Jews used it, and it became the Jewish
people’s common language. It was natural to Jesus Christ to speak it.
Bardy  says about Christ: “He surely spoke the language spoken by
his people (the Jews), that is to say the Aramaic language”.
declared that he does not recognize the existence of an Aramean people.
Because Aramean, to him, was heathen. In the same time he declares that
the “Assyrian were never subjected to the Arameans, but the Arameans,
as recognized by all historians, were subjects of the Assyrian empire”.
I am surprised and amazed at the shameful contradictions displayed
in the statements of the writer when he denies the existence of an
Aramean people and recognizes its existence at the same time. The writer
first denied the existence of the Aramean people then he declared that
the historians admit that the Arameans were subjected to the Assyrians.
The historians recognize the existence of the Aramean people but the
writer refuses to admit or recognize their existence. The writer knows
well that the Christians of the Middle East are all Syrian-Arameans and
nothing else at all.
politicians say: You are “Assyrian”, you speak the “Assyrian” language,
and you are the heir of the old Assyrian Empire! But the historic truth
says to you that you are SYRIAN-ARAMEAN, you speak the Syriac-Aramaic
language, and you are the heir of the ARAMEAN CIVILIZATION! That is why
the writer wishes to deny the existence of a whole people by “a scratch
from his pen” or by one statement from him. If the Syrians were not
acquainted with their history in the past, they are changed today
because they are diligently studying their golden history and they are
finding the facts. We do not deny that the Syrian-Arameans passed
through a period “feebleness” or weakness that lasted for hundreds of
years, which is, for many reasons, still weakening the Arameans. While
the weakness of the so-called nationalist “Assyrians”, is their lack of
understanding the history because they kept repeating the same mistakes
for the last decades. Such mistakes as:
Their instance that the Christians of the East are Assyrians.
Their instance that the language they speak now is “the Assyrian
Their reliance on politics and neglect the truth, believing that
history should prove that they are Assyrians, and they speak the
not believe that history should bring out the truth, such as the
statement of the writer when he says: “We conclude from this that the
Assyrian language was never extinct and was never replaced by another
language….and the Syriac language is only a continuation to the same old
Assyrian language”. The Syrian-Arameans know that power void of
truth ends nowhere, they insist, therefore, to study their true history
as it is, regardless all weakness and mistakes. This giant step by the
insistence of the Syrians to search for the “truth”, and not for
imaginary political objectives, will give an opportunity in the future
to preserve and guard their existence, their language and their
binds the Assyrian people and the Assyrian language together, then he
goes on to say that the Assyrian language was never extinct despite of
the fact that the ancient Assyrian language (the Akkadian) has been
extinct for more than two thousand years, and this fact is well known to
all who study true history. As for those few Assyrians, who have
survived, have melted in the huge pot of the multitude Aramean people,
and after that there is no mention of the Assyrian people or the
PART 5 –
MODERN ASSYRIANS AND THE CHALDEANS SPEAK THE ANCIENT ASSYRIAN LANGUAGE.
writer, as proof of his statement, quotes what “Austen Henry Layard”
wrote in his book “Nineveh and its Ruins” when he said “The Chaldeans,
Nestorians and the Jacobites live in the villages near Mosul, and those
who are living in the rugged mountains of Kurdistan may be the
descendants of the ancient Assyrians and the Chaldeans and they are
today still speaking the same language that was spoken in Nineveh and
Babylon”. Layard’s book was published in 1849. In that time the
research about the history of the ancient oriental peoples was
primitive. I have no doubt that Austen Henry Layard was wrong when he
said that the Chaldeans, Nestorians and Jacobites speak the Akkadian
language, because they were in the past and still are speaking the
Syriac-Aramaic language which is a Semitic language that has
similarities to the Akkadian language. If Layard lived up till now he
would reject his thoughts. Some of the Akkadian words, verbs and names,
such as the name of the months, were adopted by the Aramaic language.
But this is no definite proof that the Aramaic and the Akkadian
languages are one language. Austen Henry Layard and the writer of the
article did not present at least any satisfactory convincing proof to
support their theory.
Aramaic language and the Akkadian language were one language with only
some variations, every person, then, who speaks Aramaic, should also be
able to speak Akkadian. But this is not true. The fact is that the
Eastern and Western Syrians, simply, speak the SYRIAC-ARAMAIC language.
PART 6 –
THE ARAMAIC ALPHABET WAS INVENTED BY THE ASSYRIANS.
is motivated by his nationalistic feelings (and not by scientific
research) when he declares that “the alphabet was created by the
Assyrians and not by the Phoenicians”. Why doesn’t he claim also
that the Assyrians landed on the moon before the Americans did. There is
nothing to restrain him from saying these claims because his object was
to glorify the greatness of the ancient Assyrians by using an eloquent
language away from any proof or any scientific support. The writer is
confident that the Phoenicians created the alphabetical system but he
still says that it was created by the Assyrians, without presenting any
convincing proof to support his claim. It is a fact that the Phoenicians
were the first to use the alphabetical letters which were, then, used by
inscriptions of the Phoenician (Canaanite) alphabet were discovered in
Ugarit (Ras Shamra), Byblos and Tyre (in Phoenicia), some of them date
to the 11th century B.C.
couldn’t archeologists find these letters within the realms of the
Phoenician inscriptions on pottery were discovered in ancient Babylon
but they were Phoenician made. If the Assyrians invented the
alphabetical system why did they use the Aramaic writing?. I have
previously stated that the Assyrian kings used the Aramaic language, and
the oldest Aramaic inscription found in Babylon dated back to the time
of the king Tukulti-Apil-Esharra III (Tighlatpileser III) (745-727 B.C).
PART 7 –
THE SYRIAC LITERATURE SHOULD BE CALLED ASSYRIAN LITERATURE.
the “scientific” end attained by the writer. All the false information
presented by him is only to attain the object of reviving an Assyrian
people that has been extinct for more than two thousand years. He wants
to revive a people nowhere to be found on the expense of the SYRIAN-ARAMEAN
people which is present and live. All these falsehoods have no effect on
the educated person. It is an accepted fact that smart politics today
works with possibilities or possible things. Is it possible today to
claim that the Syriac literature should be called an “Assyrian
literature”?. Is this possible? The European, American and all other
scholars in the world call this literature “THE SYRIAC or ARAMAIC
LITERATURE”. Even the Eastern and Western Syrian scholars call it “THE
SYRIAC ARAMAIC LITERATURE” (Sefroyutho Suryoyto Oromoyto/Seprayuta
Suryeyta Aramayta ) such as the book “LITERATUR OF THE ARAMAIC LANGUAGE”
by the Chaldean Catholic scholar “Alber Abuna”.
Eastern Syrian historian claims that this literature should be called
“Assyrian”, he should prove his claim and then the scholars of Europe,
America and the world will thank him for this “great discovery”. I have
stated repeatedly that the “Assyrian people is extinct. The following
are some proofs:
documents, since the fall of Assyria, have no record of an Assyrian
people, especially the ancient Syriac documents. All Eastern and Western
Syrians, through their long history, have no nationalistic “Assyrian”
feeling, as it is clear in the SYRIAC DICTIONARY of Bar Bahlul the
Nestorian (10th century A.D.) were he wrote in page (332) of
his mentioned dictionary that “THE WORD ASSYRIAN means ENEMY in the
= W’eledwawa (B’eledbaba)” i.e. “Assyrian=enemy”.
Is this not
enough proof that the Eastern Syrians were not Assyrians? We should
recognize that the Eastern Syrians were and are ARAMEANS. Bar Bahlul
even says “Men qdim Suryaye Aramaye methqren waw” i.e. “The
Syrians were previously called Arameans”.
like to point out that the name Chaldean did not mean Eastern Syrians at
that time, because the name Chaldean, to them, meant astrologer, while
the same word today means the follower of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
The scholars of this church do not deny their Aramean roots, because
they know very well that if a plant is separated from its roots it will
attempts of the writer to make every Syrian an Assyrian is destined to
fail. It is impossible, for example, that Mar Jacob of Serugh, died 521
A.D. who was born in the town “Batnan”, between the rivers Euphrates and
Balikh, to be an Assyrian, because he was born in “Beth Nahrin”
Mesopotamia and he glorified the ARAMEAN NATION (OROMOYUTHO).
the parable saying “every building built on sand is destined to crumble
against the first strong storm that blows”. Therefore, we advise the
writer to build his writing on a solid ground and not on mere fables.
I will end
this research of min by repeating what announced and written in the year
patriarch Mar Ignatius Afrem I Barsoum in his book “THE NAME OF THE
SYRIAN NATION” in which he counter attacked the attempts to falsify and
change the facts about the Syrian people and the Syriac language. He
wrote in page (44) “THE USE OF THE NAME ASSYRIAN TO OUR LANGUAGE AND
PEOPLE IS CONTRARY TO:
THE ANCIENT TRADITIONS AND PRACTICES AGREED BY OUR SCHOLARS.
THE GENERAL NAME OF OUR PEOPLE AS KNOWN AMONG THE OTHER NATIONS.
WHAT IS ACCEPTED AND AGREED BY ALL WESTERN SCHOLARS: FRENCH,
BRITISH, GERMANS, ITALIANS AND AMERICANS.
like to repeat the famous logical saying: “You can deceive people
some of the time, but you can never deceive all the people all the time”.
Fiey Jean Maurice. Assyriens ou Arameéns ? P. 152.
ملك ، الخيانة البريطانية للآشوريين، ترجمة يونان ايليا يونان سنة 1981 ص
3- Sader , H. Les états
Araméens ou Syrie depuis leur fondation jusqi å ieur transformation en
provinces Assyriennes. P. 98
Israel and the Arameans of Damascus,P.6
inscriptions Araméennes de Sefire. PP.17-18
6-Longdon,S., Die new Babylonischen konigsinschriften,P.148.
The Harran inscription of Nabunidus .in Anatolian Studies J.S,
8-Honigmann, E. et Maricq A, Recherches sur les Res Gestae divi saporis,
A.F. The satrapy Beyond the River. in Australian Journal of Biblical
Archaeology. T.1,1969, P.54.
10-Memoires de l,cademte Royale de Belgique.T.47,19S3,P.41.
10-Cooke.G A, A Text Book of North Semltic lnscriptions.P.346
The Satrapy ,P.54.
12Honigmann et Maicq, Recherches,P.42.
15-Strabon,Geographie, 1, (2), 34.
Josephe.Histoire anclenne des Juids 1 .(61),
يعقوب أوجين منا، مقدمة قاموس كلداني- عربي ص 15 (قاموس آرامي عربي) دليل
الراغيين في لغة الآراميين-17
18-Philoxene de Maboug, Memra contre HABIB dans Patrologie
des Edesse, Scolie, dans Patrologie Orientalis.T.29,1960 P.196.
20-Chabot,Jean.Baptiste., Quatriéme Partie de la Chronique Syriaque de
Denys de Tell Mahré Texte Syrlaque.P.11.
21-Chabot.Jean.Baptiste.,La Chronique Syriaque de Michel le Syrien,T.3,
22-Mazar,Benjamin ,The Aramean Empire and its Relations with Israel” in:
“ The Biblical Archeologist,T.25, 1962, P.119.
24-lbid.Lime viii, Ch.2.
25-Herodotus, Histoires, Lime 3, 92.
26-Brinkman,John .A. , A Political History of Post Kassite Babylonia.
158-722 B.C. P.267.
27-Bowman,A.R,. Arameans, Aramaic and the Bible, in-.Joumal of Near
Eastem Studies T.7, 1948,P.78
G., La question des langues I Eglise Anciene,p.2.
article is taken from Aram magazine no.5 summer 1993 p. 40-50.