In an effort to provide a consolidated view of historical notes of the Ancient Assyrian peoples, I am proud to include Micheal Younan’s essay as a preface blog post for anyone interested in understanding who the Assyrians are and where they come from.
The Assyrians are Semitic people and are decedents of one of the earliest nations with a history of over 6000 years. They are the indigenous people of what is known today as ‘Iraq’. They built the first civilization in Mesopotamia (Assyria), the Cradle of Civilization, the land between two rivers – Tigris and Euphrates, in what is known to day as Iraq. The ancient Assyrian Language, Aramaic, belongs to the Semitic family of languages which is the language that our Lord Jesus Christ spoke and preached, and it is still practiced in the Assyrian Church of the East and all other Assyrian Church denominations.
The name ‘Assyria’ (Ashur) is mentioned over 150 times in the Bible (old Testament) beginning in Genesis 2:-14: notably, in the Prophecy of Isaiah 19:23-25, Niv. “Blessed be Assyria, The work of my hands.”
The Assyrians were the first gentile nation of people, after Jerusalem (urshalim), to embrace Christianity and spread the word to India, China, Mongolia, Japan and Ethiopia.
Saint Mathew wrote the first Gospel in Aramaic
The Assyrians of Mesopotamia contributed greatly to the civilization of mankind by inventing and excelling in the areas of literature, architecture, agriculture, science and astronomy.
- Script Writing from early Picto-Graph (3100 B.C.) to Cuneiform (700 B.C.) to the first Alphabet (roughly 300B.C.)
- Creation of the first library, written on clay tablets in Nineveh City: Assembled by the great king Ashur Banipal (668-633) who collected 25,000 clay tablets in Sumerian and Akkadian Many of which are now in the British Museum of London
- Calendar (Roughly 2400 B.C.), Glass (2700 B.C.), Irrigation systems (roughly 4000 B.C.), Numbers 1-9 and mathematics (3100 B.C.), Law Codes (1780B.C.), and the Wheel (roughly 3500B.C.), Circle- 360 degrees (roughly 3000 B.C.)
- Credited with the first documented recipes as they were written on clay tablets dating back to the 18th/17th Century B.C.
- Farming grew in Mesopotamia due to irrigation systems
- Diets included: bread, vegetables, fruit, animal products, barley, wheat, millet
- Barely and bread baked from flour became the staff of life
- Most important fruit crop were Dates. Dates were the first plants farmers domesticated. Date syrup was used as the main sweetener
- Vegetable Diet included: peas, beans, lentils, cucumbers, green lettuce, onions, garlic and sesame seeds
- Vegetable oil was also produced for cooking, cosmetics, tanning and rituals
- Fruit diet included: apples, apricots, figs, grapes, melons, mulberries, pears, plums, pomegranates and dates.
- Fruits were conserved in honey and dried
- Meats and fish were dried, smoked, salted for safe keeping or they were cooked by roasting, boiling, broiling or barbequing.
- Beef was in short supply in the beginning. Beef and veal were popular with those who could afford it
- Goats and cows were used for meat and dairy products
- Fish consumption was limited to availability
- Assyrian brewed Beer dating back to 3500-3100 BC
- Consumed beer with large straws from a communal jar
- Beer was more popular than wine in the beginning. Wine became a meal drink and was consumed in royal receptions and banquets
- Wine was stored in Goatskin containers