Assyrians a Brief Description
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The Assyrians are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia and have a history spanning over 6700 years. Today, the Assyrians are the descendants of the ancient Assyrian Empire and one of the earliest civilizations emerging in Mesopotamia. Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous persistence of the Assyrian people till the present time. Assyrian civilization at one time incorporated the entire Near East, most notably the area of the Fertile Crescent. The heartland of Assyria lies in present day Northern Iraq. The remains of the ancient capital of Assyria, Nineveh, lie next to Mosul in Northern Iraq.
The world’s 4.5 million Assyrians are currently dispersed with members of the Diaspora comprising nearly one-third of the population. Most of the Assyrians in the Diaspora live in North America, Europe, and Australia. The remaining Assyrians reside primarily in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey.
The Assyrians are not to be confused with Syrians. Although the name of Syria is directly derived from Assyria and the land was once a part of Assyria the people of Syria currently maintain a separate Arab identity. The Assyrians are not Arabs, but rather have maintained a continuous and separate identity, language, and culture that predates the Arabization of the Near East. Until today, the Assyrians speak a distinct language, Syriac, the language spoken by Jesus Christ. As a Semitic language, the Assyrian language is related to Hebrew and Arabic but predates both.
The Assyrians were the first to accept Christianity in the first century A.D. Despite the subsequent Islamic conquest of the region, the Assyrian Church flourished and its adherents at one time numbered 80,000,000. Assyrian missionary zeal was unmatched and led to the first Christian missions to China and Japan. Today, the Assyrians belong to three major Christian sects: the Church of the East, the Chaldean Churc...
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