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The Relation Between Ancient and Modern Assyrians

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The Relation Between Ancient and Modern Assyrians

Jul-04-2000 at 01:36 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

The Relation Between Ancient and Modern Assyrians
The Cradle of Mankind: Life in Eastern Kurdistan
By William A Wigram, D.D.
London: A & C Black, 1914
Reviewed by Rose Riskalla

In the Cradle of Mankind, which can perhaps be best described as a classic reference book in Assyriology, Dr. William Wigram relates his travels to the facts of history that tell the fascinating story of the growth of pre-Christian Assyrians from Nineveh to the present day Assyrians of Eastern Kurdistan and beyond.
The distinguished author arrived at his conclusions by observing the territory of Kurdistan, its peoples, their customs, physiognomy and political problems. By examining these factors, he found definite proof that the Assyrians of today are the direct descendants of the Assyrians of antiquity. He further concluded that this is the area where Western civilization had its beginning.
In search for material evidence of the timeless and changeless philosophy of Assyrian life and in the sharing of knowledge with the faithful, the author had imagination enough to label Eden, Eden. The photographs present a priceless representation of the area, while the accompanying descriptions could have been written by no one better qualified than a theologian like Dr. Wigram.
For this reviewer, the truth of her parents narratives of their early experiences in the old country is confirmed by the author. Of particular interest was the description of the system of taxation, which was outrageously oppressive. The brutality of the tax collector was almost as cruel as the banditry of the Kurds, for the village people had absolutely no civil services.
Dr. Wigram relates the following incident: A band of Kurds were attempting to steal sheep from an Assyrian village when an English traveler intervened and caused the Kurds to leave peacefully without the loot. Later, he visited a Kurdish chieftain, and the results were a plea for order for the good of both Christians and Kurds and a promise of medical help. The author notes the universal lack of cleanliness, which led to disease and physical suffering.
At the time of writing, the author encountered a team of German archaeologists excavating in very scientific fashion, but he was informed that all findings were to be placed in the museum in Istanbul.
A photograph most interesting to this reviewer was that of Assyrian women at work on the roofs in Bibaydi, cleaning grit from the heap of winnowed grain, exactly as described by her mother.
The book bulges with information for the student of geography, ethnology, and history as well as for the casual reader. Assyrians of every section cannot afford to miss reading anything from the pen of the late Dr. Wigram. The miracle of the survival of Assyrian life and values is conclusively confirmed by the Cradle of Mankind.

Editors note: The second edition of The Cradle of Mankind was published by the same press in 1922, and includes Our Smallest Ally as chapter 17, pp. 357-391. The 1914 edition, reviewed herein, was authored by Dr. Wigram jointly with Edgar T. A. Wigram.

Nineveh Magazine, 2nd. Quarter 1981, Vol. 4, No. 2

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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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