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Ancient Assyrian/Babylonian Cuneiform
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(Translations occur based on how you type. For best results, use simple words as language has developed a lot since the time of this ancient language. If some images show broken icons, you can highlight the translation word(s) and copy that into the search box. On lengthy search results browsers may indicate broken image icons when, in fact, they are not.)




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    The Assyrian/Babylonian Cuneiform:
Pictographs (symbols that visually look like physical objects, also known as hieroglyphs) evolved over time from around 3500 B.C. into Babylonian-Assyrian Cuneiform (wedge shaped writing) around 1800 B.C. Note: The evolution of the pictograph went from the Ancient Sumerians (who developed the first Cuneiform language based on the pictographs) -> Babylonians -> Assyrians. Over time, the original pictograph is in almost all cases, visually unrecognizable in Cuneiform by 600 B.C.

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Pictograph Example[11]
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Cuneiform Example[11]
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Carsen Neibuhr discovered that there were actually three classes of cuneiform[22] in the region being:
  1. Class 1: Old Persian
  2. Class 2: Neo-Elamitic
  3. Class 3: Babylonian-Assyrian (the translator and flashcards reflect this class)
One of the reasons that it may be more difficult to learn cuneiform versus Chinese or Japanese is that, while Chinese is ideographic and Japanese is syllabic, the Babylonian-Assyrian cuneiform is both ideographic and syllabic[23].

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Three Cuneiform Classes[32]
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Some History of Ancient Assyria/Babylonia:
Babylonia is believed to be the oldest civilized country in Asia and was the center from which civilization spread into Assyria, to Asia Minor and Phoenicia and from those to Greece, Rome and what we know of as modern Europe[33].

Recorded from 1653 B.C. to 745 B.C., Assyria had over sixty different Kings - indicated in the King List (Khorsabad, Nassouhi, SDAS Lists)[9].

What remains of ancient Assyria is the northern part of Iraq. Some may be confused in thinking that "Syria" is the modern nation of "Assyria". Syria was, infact, a nation in Ancient Mesopotamia, separate from ancient Assyria and while ancient Assyria has evaporated as a nation, Syria still is a nation in the same geographic location as was in ancient times when looking at a modern map.

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Ancient Map With Syria & Assyria[11]
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Modern Map With Syria[12]
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The Assyrians had many gods and goddesses (many carried over from the times of Ancient Sumeria) which are listed below:
Adramelech Form of sun god
Anasas God of medicine
Anshar (Assur, Ashur) The national god of Assyria (god of farming); consort of Belit
Anu God of the heavens; originally worshipped at the city of Erech before Ishtar[36].
Bel (Merodach)(Induru)(Belis by Greeks)(Indara by Hittites***)[39] God of the visible world; Beltis was the wife of Bel; Zirat-banit his consort[37].
Ea (Hea)(Oannes by Greeks) God of humanity and water; regarded to have come out of what we know is the Persian Gulf (half man, half fish) and imparted the Babylonians with the arts of civilized life[34]. Davkina was the consort of Hea.[36]
Gubaba Associated with Samnuha
Ishtar (Nana, Ninmakh) The goddess of love. Found portrayed with clawed feet and flanked by owls.
Nabu (Nebo) God of wisdom and writing; his consort was Tasmit[37].
Nimrod[13] Deified king who founded the Babylonian Empire (who was the great-grandson of Noah[14] (Note: Noah**, or Noah's lineage associated to Cush?))
Nina Goddess of fish
Ninip God of war (similar to Nergal)
Nisroch God of agriculture
Samnuha (shapsh) the god's torch; also associated to Gubaba
Shalla Goddess of grain



Image of Ea, Hea, Oannes
Most texts associate the image (to the left) to the god Ea (Hea)(Oannes) who was the one which imparted arts and civilized life. However, one text has suggested that this image was the Sun Fish-man (S'ukka or Biesh) who bestowed the ambrosia of Resurrection and Life, which is contained in the basket[41].


Assyrian Empire established in 2126 B.C. according to Dr. Russell[1] (of additional interest may be the Catalogue of Assyrian Monarchs by Ctesias who concluded the monarchy continued for 520 years[2]).

Ninus, King of Assyria (presumed first monarch) conquered Babylon in 2126 B.C. with the cooperation of the King of Arabia (Nabonnebus who's reign was from 2151 B.C. to 2126 B.C.) and ruled for 52 years[3]. It is worth noting that the King of Arabia (Nabonnebus) (the region of Saudi Arabia today was Arabia in Ancient Mesopotamia; Arabia associated to the sons of Chus[14] (Chus may be Cush)) was deposed and slain by Ninus (who was the son of Nimrod[14]) in 2126 B.C. after Babylon was conquered. Of interesting note is that Ninus was put to death sometime after Semiramis*, his wife and thus princess of Assyria, was given full power over all of Assyria[15] by him. Babylon becomes independant later in history and is conquered by Cyrus of Persia[7] in 538 B.C. and came to its own end in 331 B.C.[8] by Alexander the Great.

Sennacherib, one of the Kings of Assyria, after getting tired of frequent uprisings to the south, actually went so far as destroying the city of Babylon and then flooding the entire city[21]. He also took possession of Phoenicia; restored to his throne Padiya (king of Ekron) who had been deposed and given over to Hezehiah, king of Jerusalem. Sennacherib then marched against Hezekiah and "Hezekiah, king of Judah, who had not submitted to my authority, forty-six of his principal cities and fortresses and villages depending upon them, of which I took no account, I captured and carried away their spoil. I shut up(?) himself within Jerusalem, his capital city. The fortified towns, and the rest of his towns, which I spoiled, I severed from his country, and gave to the kings of Ascalon, Ekron, and Gaza, so as to make his country small."[42]

Sardanapalus was the last king of the first empire of the Assyrians and burns himself in his palace after reigning for twenty years. After this event (767 B.C.), Assyria was divided into three sections:[18]
  1. the Assyrians of Babylon
  2. the Assyrians of Nineveh
  3. and the Medes
However, if Sardanapalus is Assurbanipal (as some texts have suggested[20] Assurbanipal (also referred to as Asnapper) was distorted into Sardanapalus by Greek writers), Assurbanipal's death is recorded at 630 B.C.

Nineveh means "Fish Town" although some texts suggest the name "Nineveh" was derived from "Nina", the Babylonian fish goddess. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria (Asshur) and is near the modern city of Mosul. Nineveh contained two summits[6] (Tel Koyunjuk and Nebbi Yunus which means "the prophet Jonah"[19]) although today, after years of cultivation may not be seen as more than lengthy mounds. It would seem that the city of Babylon (in the land of Shinar[14]) was, at one point, the capital of Assyria as well[13].

Not much is known about what ancient Assyria produced prior to it conquering virtually ALL of Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. From what records do exist, it has been found that some of the products of Assyria include grain, wormwood, liquorice plant, carob, manna (gathered from the Dwarf Oak tree), citrons and silk (from a silkwood not found elsewhere), date-palm, gall-nut, pistachio-nut, filberts, qinces, plums, chestnuts, pears, apples, cherries, apricots and melons[10].

One of the forms of divination that was highly regarded in Babylonia and Assyria was astronomy and the association of gods to planets[25]:

Atmosphere Vul (Rimmon) - god of the atmosphere
Earth's Moon Sin (Suen) - father of wisdom
Jupiter Marduk - solar deity
Mars Nergal - fiery god of destruction and war [or] god of the netherworld and its demons, and god of pestilence and fevers; Nergal's consort was Laz[37].
Mercury Nabu (Nebo) - god of wisdom and writing
Neptune Hea - Assyrian god of the ocean[38]
Saturn Ninib (Sakkuth) - god of agriculture [or] hero of heavenly and earthly spirits
Sun Shamash (Samas) - god of justice
Venus Ishtar (Nana, Ninmakh) - the goddess of love


Hepatoscopy (inspection of the liver, as by laparotomy or peritoneoscopy) which was used extensively in the region (the liver was considered divination; the only organ of life) spread to other nations such as Hittites north-central Angolia today as Turkey (the Hittites were noted to also be in Syria[42]), Greeks and Romans[24].

According to Berosus[4], from the record of the Chaldeans, wrote that the empire of Babylon endured for 432,000 years prior to the Great Deluge (or Flood) estimated to be 3185 B.C.[5] which would bring the beginning of the Babylonian empire to 435,185 B.C.

Hammurabi's Code is possibly the oldest compilation of laws in the world (associated to the reign of Hammurapi 2123 B.C. - 2081 B.C.[30]) of which the prologue-corpus-epilogue convention used also appeared in Plato's dialogue "Laws"[27]. The stone (pictured below) that the Laws were found on is approximately 8 feet tall.

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Hammurabi's Code[31]
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Plato admired the manner of education given to future rulers of Assyrians and recommended it to the Greeks. At fourteen years of age the education begins and covers several parts (educated by four of the wisest and most virtuous men):
  1. language, worship of the gods, laws and principles of government
  2. to speak the truth and administer justice
  3. not to be overcome by pleasures so that he could truly be a king, free and master of himself and his desires
  4. fortify his courage against fear (which would have made him a slave) and to inspire him with a noble and prudent assurance
While Plato admired the education, he also remarked that he was frustrated by the luxury and magnificence which surrounded the prince[17].

Both the Babylonians and Assyrians divided a full day into twelve double hours (based on the sexagesimal notational system)[26] which we've come to know as the 12 hours of A.M. and 12 hours of P.M.. What is interesting is that even today we keep track of time in the same manner (such as with watches, clocks and time kept on computers).

The sexagesimal notational system is a BASE 60 system (we use the BASE 10 system today) With the BASE 10 system, we can count from zero to nine and then recycle the digits to the right of the last cycle such as (thanks Bahman for pointing this out):

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 BASE 10 Original counting sequence
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 BASE 10 Second counting iteration


With the sexagesimal system counting goes from one to sixty (one to six for simplicity here) and then recycles such as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 BASE 60 Original counting sequence
6 and 1 6 and 2 6 and 3 6 and 4 6 and 5 2 x 6 BASE 60 Second counting iteration


What is quite interesting, is that while we use BASE 10 for a lot of mathematics, we use the BASE 60 system for keeping of time - (2) 12 hour cycles in a day; 60 seconds in a minute; 60 minutes in one hour. In geometry we also use the standard that 360 degrees comprise a circle. As well, the sum of a square's angles equal 360 and a triangle is 1/2 of that or 180 degrees.

Greece's first horoscopes were imitations of the Babylonian horoscopes[28]. The horoscopes are comprised of 12 different symbols and each symbol is a zodiac, where time in a given zodiac was 2,160 years which equates to 30 degrees (1 degree of aggression per 72 years). An interesting parallel is that, when you add up the total degrees between all 12 zodiacs, it equals 360 degrees...the number of degrees in a circle as defined in geometry.

Pythagoras (570 B.C. - 500 B.C.) was the first Greek to become a disciple of Egyptian priests and decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphic. He was also captured in 525 B.C. by Cambyses (son of the King Cyrus of Persia) and sent to Babylon. What is perhaps most noteable, however, is that while in Babylon he was taught thier mathematics and science, and the right-angle theory that history has attributed him as having discovered (Pythagoras' Theorem) had, in reality, already been in use in the region of Babylon/Assyria for 1300 years[29].



Notes:
* Semiramis, the wife of Ninus who was the King of Assyria (the son of Nimod) was born at Escalon, a city in Syria. It is believed that she issued the order to build the massive walls of Babylon[15], after Ninus was put to death. After she abdicated the throne of Assyria to her son, Ninyas, she was worshipped by the Assyrians under the form of a dove[16].
** Noah, a Chaldean Monarch[35] at or near Surippak (port near the entrance of the Euphrates river into the Persian Gulf), was known under several names. Some of them were: (Adrahasis, Hasisadra, Xisithrus)[35].
*** English translators coined the name "Hitt-ite" from "Hiti" "Hit" of these Amorite people which were originally referred to as "Khati" or "Khatti" or "Kha-it-ti"[40]. The Hittites were of the Syrian region[42].


References:
[1] Mesopotamia and Assyria, Author: J. Baillie Fraser, Esq, Publisher: Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, Tweeddale Counter; Simpkin, Marshall & Company, London, Publication Year: 1869(?), p. 44.
[2] Ancient Universal History, 8vo. London. 1747-1754, volume 4, p. 264-270.
[3] Mesopotamia and Assyria, Author: J. Baillie Fraser, Esq, Publisher: Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, Tweeddale Counter; Simpkin, Marshall & Company, London, Publication Year: 1869(?), p. 47.
[4] Ancient Fragments, Author: Isaac Preston Cory, 2nd Edition 8vo, London, Publication Year: 1832, p.30.
[5] Mesopotamia and Assyria, Author: J. Baillie Fraser, Esq, Publisher: Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, Tweeddale Counter; Simpkin, Marshall & Company, London, Publication Year: 1869(?), p. 45.
[6] Mesopotamia and Assyria, Author: J. Baillie Fraser, Esq, Publisher: Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, Tweeddale Counter; Simpkin, Marshall & Company, London, Publication Year: 1869(?), p. 165.
[7] Missing Links Discovered In Assyrian Tablets, Author: E. Raymond Capt. M.A., A.I.A., F.S.A., Publisher: Artisan Sales, Publication Year: 1985, p.93.
[8] Missing Links Discovered In Assyrian Tablets, Author: E. Raymond Capt. M.A., A.I.A., F.S.A., Publisher: Artisan Sales, Publication Year: 1985, p.233.
[9] Missing Links Discovered In Assyrian Tablets, Author: E. Raymond Capt. M.A., A.I.A., F.S.A., Publisher: Artisan Sales, Publication Year: 1985, p.227.
[10] The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World: Chaldea and Assyria, Author: George Rawlinson, M.A., Publisher: Gorgias Press, Publication Year: 2002.
[11] Missing Links Discovered In Assyrian Tablets, Author: E. Raymond Capt. M.A., A.I.A., F.S.A., Publisher: Artisan Sales, Publication Year: 1985, p.22, 26, 37.
[12] Google Maps, Release Year: 2007.
[13] The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, Publisher: American Book Exchange, Publication Year: 1880, p. 123.
[14] The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, Publisher: American Book Exchange, Publication Year: 1880, p. 124.
[15] The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, Publisher: American Book Exchange, Publication Year: 1880, p. 126.
[16] The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, Publisher: American Book Exchange, Publication Year: 1880, p. 129.
[17] The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, Publisher: American Book Exchange, Publication Year: 1880, p. 133.
[18] The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, Publisher: American Book Exchange, Publication Year: 1880, p. 568.
[19] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.12.
[20] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.21.
[21] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.55.
[22] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.65, Plate 20.
[23] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.71.
[24] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.257.
[25] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.261.
[26] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.496.
[27] The Sumerian Roots of the American Preamble, Author: James T. Mcquire, Publisher: Lough Erne Press, Publication Year: 1994, p.57.
[28] The Sumerian Roots of the American Preamble, Author: James T. Mcquire, Publisher: Lough Erne Press, Publication Year: 1994, p.69.
[29] The Sumerian Roots of the American Preamble, Author: James T. Mcquire, Publisher: Lough Erne Press, Publication Year: 1994, p.70.
[30] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, p.283.
[31] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, Plate 34.
[32] The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, Author: Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D., LL.D., Publisher: Philadelphia and London J.B. Lippincott Company, Publication Year: 1915, Plate 20.
[33] The History of Babylonia, Author: George Smith, Esq.; Edited by A.H. Sayce, Publisher: Pott, Young & Company, Publication Year: Unknown, p.14, 15.
[34] The History of Babylonia, Author: George Smith, Esq.; Edited by A.H. Sayce, Publisher: Pott, Young & Company, Publication Year: Unknown, p.36.
[35] The History of Babylonia, Author: George Smith, Esq.; Edited by A.H. Sayce, Publisher: Pott, Young & Company, Publication Year: Unknown, p.37.
[36] The History of Babylonia, Author: George Smith, Esq.; Edited by A.H. Sayce, Publisher: Pott, Young & Company, Publication Year: Unknown, p.68.
[37] The History of Babylonia, Author: George Smith, Esq.; Edited by A.H. Sayce, Publisher: Pott, Young & Company, Publication Year: Unknown, p.114.
[38] The History of Babylonia, Author: George Smith, Esq.; Edited by A.H. Sayce, Publisher: Pott, Young & Company, Publication Year: Unknown, p.130.
[39] The Indo-Sumerian Seals Deciphered, Author: L.A. Waddell, LL.D., C.B., C.I.E., Publisher: Omni Publications, Publication Year: 1980 (1st Edition: 1925), p.34.
[40] The Indo-Sumerian Seals Deciphered, Author: L.A. Waddell, LL.D., C.B., C.I.E., Publisher: Omni Publications, Publication Year: 1980 (1st Edition: 1925), p.106.
[41] The Indo-Sumerian Seals Deciphered, Author: L.A. Waddell, LL.D., C.B., C.I.E., Publisher: Omni Publications, Publication Year: 1980 (1st Edition: 1925), p.87.
[42] Museum of Antiquity Illustrated, Author: L.w. Yaggy, M.S., T.L. Haines, A.M., Publisher: Western Publishing House, Publication Year: 1881, p.431.


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