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The Assyrian Star

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Fred Aprimmoderator

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The Assyrian Star

Jan-05-2002 at 08:32 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

The symbol of the solar disk or star (sun god Shamash) came down to the Assyrians and Babylonians from the Akkadians. The Akkadian names of the symbol were shamshatu and niphu.

The solar disk (star) appears heavily in typical Assyrian art excavated in Assyria. Here are four well-known artifacts, just for example:

1. Jehus emissary paying tribute to Assyrian King (from the black obelisk of Shalmanesar III of Nimrod).
2. A scene of worship at Ashur in the Berlin Museum.
3. Stele in Nimrod of Ashurnasirpal, in Mosul.
4. Stele of Ashurnasirpal II (9th century B.C.) in the British Museum.
(Visit the British Museum and read the following books Art of Assyria and Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia)

And the solar disk appears in Babylonian art too in such pieces as:
1.The tablet from Sippar, King Nabu-apal-iddin commemorating the building of the temple of Shamash.
2. A carved kudurru of Sippar from 12th century B.C.

All the above and many other examples belonged to a time prior to the invasion of Babylon in 626 BC by the ancient Chaldeans. Therefore, when anybody implies that the solar disk symbol was Chaldean, that statement comes from total ignorance. The examples above belonged to a period when the nomadic ancient Chaldean tribes were not even part of Babylons history. Whatever art the ancient Chaldeans had established, mainly during the reign of Nabuchadnezzar II, was established during the (87) years they ruled in Babylon. It was in fact the Babylonian native artists who renovated the Palace of the King, an earlier existing structure, and built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Ishtar Gate and the other renovations of the sun god temple in Sippar. No archaeological findings of any kind had uncovered any ancient Chaldean statues, monuments, steles or any artifacts. We cannot find any art that is described Chaldean in any museum in the world starting from the British, French, German and ending with the Iraqi Museum.

Back to the star, Shamash (and the solar disk symbol) was rooted in Assyrian and Babylonian religion and in the religion of their forefathers the Akkadians. There was no reason for the Babylonians to abandon Shamash simply because the Chaldeans invaded Babylon. The Babylonians continued to worship Shamash and so did their new invaders, the Chaldeans. The new invaders respected Shamash because it was the god of the general population. Therefore, we can refer to the symbol as the Assyrian Star and we can refer to it as the Babylonian Star since hard evidence through statues and stele attests to the presence of the star during long periods of the Assyrian and Babylonian rule.

The sun-god tablet originally from Sippar, today in the British Museum, records the restoration of the sun god and his temple by the Babylonian king Nabu-apla-iddina (c. 870 BC) to its original place in Sippar because it was plundered two centuries earlier. Still, the inscription provides an amusing instance of ancient forgery, says Joan Oaths on page 108 from the book Babylon. According to Babylonian convention it was not normally possible to carve a new statue of a deity; the old one was always renovated with special ceremonies. The statue of Shamash had been plundered from Sippar, but a priest of Ebabbar found a clay model of the original, from which, it was alleged, a new statue could properly be made. In this suspiciously fortuitous circumstance there must remain a strong suggestion of pious fraud, added Joan Oaths on page 109.

We need to stress that Nabu-apla-iddina, who restored the sun god and his temple was a Babylonian and had nothing to do with the ancient Chaldeans. He made treaties with Ashurnasirpal II (883-859) and later in his final years with Shalmaneser III (858-824). His successor Marduk-zakir-shumi in fact asked for the help of his Assyrian allies to suppress a rebellion in Babylonia. A massive throne base of Shalmaneser was found at Nimrud where he is showing embracing Marduk-zakir-shumi and the two kings are shown as equal. (Read Joan Oaths, Babylon, page 109).

In conclusion, the sun god Shamash (used in the Assyrian flag) was a known deity in Assyria and Babylonia before the ancient Chaldeans appeared in the Babylonian scene.

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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