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The Assyrians ( Assyr . Assūrāju ) were a people who lived in ancient times in central and northern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Turkey). They have been since the 2nd millennium BC. Archaeologically proven on the middle Tigris . The Assyrians rose to dominate northern Mesopotamia and northern Syria several times. They could also conquer Babylon . The Assyrians were distinguished by martial activity, but also accomplished high cultural achievements. The culture of Assyria , like that of the Akkadians, was influenced by Sumerians , but influences of the Hurrians , Hittites and Iranians can also be identified. Their main god was Aššur , the patron god of the capital of the same name.

Assyrian language

Assyrian is one of the two main dialects of Akkadian , a Semitic language , alongside Babylonian .


In the 8th century BC The New Assyrian Empire rose to become a great empire and partly ruled Babylonia and Egypt. The culture of Assyria, like that of the Akkadians, was influenced by Sumerians . In the Neo-Assyrian period, influences from the Aramaeans , Babylonians and Iranians can also be identified. Their kings carried, among other things, the title "King of Sumer and Akkad ".

Outside of their heartland on the central Tigris , the Assyrians formed the upper class of administrative officials and the military in their empire at many times.

One of their most stubborn enemies was the empire of Mittani , which temporarily ruled Assyria, and later Urartu , which almost collapsed Assyria. The Assyrian Empire was crushed by the Medes and Babylonians, who died in 612 BC. Destroyed the capital Nineveh . Some of the structures of the Assyrian Empire survived until the 6th century BC. The Assyrian dialect of Akkadian was still in use until the third century.


The Assyrians had a polytheistic religion that was influenced in many ways by their Mesopotamian, Syrian, and Anatolian neighbors. Their national god was Aššur , which was also the name of one of their capitals. Like many ancient religions, it was characterized by belief in many different gods and spirits, but also by ancestor cult .


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  • Johannes Renger : Institutional, communal, and individual ownership or possession of arable land in ancient Mesopotamia from the end of the fourth to the end of the first millennium . In: Chicago Kent Law Review Vol. 71, 1995, pp. 269-319.
  • Ephraim Stern: Archeology of the Land of the Bible. Vol 2 . Doubleday, New York 2001, ISBN 0-385-42450-7 .
  • TJ Wilkinson: The structure and dynamics of dry-farming states in upper Mesopotamia . In: Current Anthropology . Vol. 35/5, 1994, pp. 483-520.
  • Johannes Renz:  Assyria / Assyrians. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (eds.): The scientific Bibellexikon on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff., Accessed on July 18, 2017.
  • Kemalettin Köroğlu - Selim Ferruh Adalı (eds.), The Assyrians. Kingdom of the God Aššur from Tigris to Taurus / Assurlular. Dicle'den Toroslar'a Tanrı Assur'un Krallığı, Istanbul 2018, ISBN 978-975-08-4305-1

Web links

Wiktionary: Assyrians  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations