Assyrians of today have often been mistaken for Syrians. Reason for this confusion seems to be- the average American has heard the name Syria. He knows there is a land by that name, but there is no country today to be named Assyria. What is even more odd is that many writers, until recently, were under the impression that no remnants of Assyrians existed today. Whenever an Assyrian presented himself as a living sample of descendants of Assyrians of pre-Christian era, he was met with wrinkled noses, shaking heads and forbidding eyes saying: there is no such thing as a living Assyrian. They have vanished from the face of the earth completely. But other researchers whose experience has been founded not on rumor but on their own quest, have acknowledged the claim to be justified.
Another painful point to comment upon is: - Assyrian of pre-Christian times have been pictured to be a cruel and an absolutely merciless people, whose heathenish heart had no room for mercy. The following should help to annul this type of opinion:
In the Louvre Museum of Paris, France, an visitor passing through the Assyrian department, cannot fail to see the following: On an obelisk of sandstone, approximately 5ft. in height, with engravings in bas relief and impressed inscriptions on all four sides; below the images, the observer will read the following translation on one of the four sides: "King Ashur Bani-Pal on his royal throne, captive kings of the defeated revolting coalition of subject nations are being admitted into his presence." One of the captive kings name give- is shown prostrated on the ground in front of the footstool. Other captive kings are waiting in the background in a row. The admonition of the emperor to the kings of his dominions reads: "Why do you want to start wars? I dislike bloodshed. Just pay your tribute and live in peace." he sent them to their lands with magnificent gifts of royal robes.
But thanks to the young science of Archeology for painstakingly digging in the sandy earth of Bet-Nahrain-Messa or Mesopotamia, today's Iraq, and releasing the secrets locked in the ground for thousands of years. The unexpected revelation was sensational. The inscriptions pressed on baked clay or sculpture in indestructible stone, still other engraved on metals and semi-precious stones shook the scientific world to its very foundations. The dazzling light of a new order of things would precipitate the millennia-old beliefs into chaotic confusion. In the place of barbarism, blinding light of culture shone. Where signs of heathenism were expected to be found, Psalms and Grand poetry in praise of the Lords of creation were sung. In place of mental crudity, epics of mature thinking were recited. The original Noah and his Ark were here too. Even, judging by time-laps, the original righteous Job was here, nursing his wounds without complaint. Mesopotamia, in Assyrian Bet-Nahrain meaning between two rivers. i.e., the land between two rivers-Tigris and Euphrates, is justifiably named by Dr. Wigram, English authority on the subject of Middle-Eastern nations. "The Crackle of Mankind". Dr. S.N. Kramer calls it "cradle of civilization". In this land around him and took a film hold of the helm of surrounding environment and made the existing conditions to serve his purpose.
He started the communal or city life, thus becoming the originator of civilization. To promote that venturesome step, he would need dwelling places for shelter from a scorching sun and the rigors of burning sandy winds; He would need fields to raise crops for sustenance of life; he would need implements to till his soil for fertility; He would have to domesticate animals for labor and for nourishment; He would need utensils for preparation of his food, and as he had a taste for art, he liked to decorate them with various colorful designs. He would need systems of irrigation and canalization; He would require tools for all kinds of labor, also for weaving material for clothing- for he didn't desire to cover his body with crude animal skin. Subsequently a code of law would be indispensable for the growing communities. He would have to build templates wherein to worship his magnanimous Creator. He would also need weapons to defend himself against man and beast.
Centuries later we see him building Places of baked bricks, stone, granite, alabaster and marble; We see him decorating the portals of his Palaces with images of human-headed winged bull - signifying reality of power. He continues to grow in wisdom, imagination and strength. We observe him building imposing templates of seven floors for various types of worship, also each representing the color of a different metal. We find him impressing his thoughts and the echo of his activities on baked earth and on several kinds of stones, metals and on semi precious jewels.
Subsequently, he lifts his head and directs his gaze toward the skies. Deep spaces challenge his venturesome spirit. As the outcome of his dream, we have the gift of the calendar that divides the time into years, months, weeks days hours, minutes and seconds. Today's astronomers say that the difference between what they arrived at and what modern man computes with his advanced machinery is only a few seconds in a year. The product of their astronomical science was also the knowledge to foretell eclipse of sun and the moon and periodical appearances of comets.
Let us enumerate a few item of the monumental legacy they bequeathed to mankind of all time:
- The meaning of civilization, what does it need to build it.
- Systems of irrigation
- Systems of canalization Recognition of divine guidance
- Art: Constructional, painting, decorating, sculpture, fashioning of ornaments in gold, silver, brass, copper, precious and semi-precious stones
- Necessary house implements
- Necessary home implements
- Management of community centers
- Code of law
- Crown of achievement - Art of writing. Progressive development: from Pico-graph to sign language; from sign language to alphabet
- The wheel- revolutionary invention that has promoted mechanical technology to such a degree that without it the latter could not be thought of, for it would be totally paralyzed
- Military tactics that surpassed those of the surrounding people by a very wide margin, hence, their successful conquests
- Astronomy - product of which are knowledge of seven planets metaphorically recolonized for creative power, foretelling advent of eclipses and reappearances of comets as well as calendar
- Magnifying glass discovered in the ruins of Ninveh, Assyrian last capital city
- The bell. Scientific - metallurgical examination has established the fact the relative proportion of the two necessary elements indispensable for making well sounding bells are perfect. The two elements are copper and tin.
- The division of circle into 360 degrees. Used for measurement for space and in machinery, also presumably in navigation
- The Arch. Stupendous discovery on which the science of civil engineering depends so much
- Remnants of an electric cell were discovered in the ruins of Ninveh; re-assembly of the parts did produce electric current
- The finding that revealed Assyrians dealt in figures up to nine digits sustains the purpose of magnifying glass
We find that science of Archeology has totally capsized the verdict pronounced against Assyrian in ignorance by calling them vile names such as: savage, inhuman, merciless and what not; for it has firmly been established that their culture has enriched man's world enormously; that by their laborious and perseverant work they have not only accomplished wonders, but have been instrumental in helping man to expand the horizon of his attainments farther and farther, which shall become the undeniable fact that man was created by GOD IN HIS OWN IMAGE.