7 books you need on your shelf

Date: December 12, 2016

The Ashurbanipal Library at AUAF is home to the largest collection of Assyrian texts in the world. You’ll find everything from old publications and newspapers to novels and dictionaries lining our aisles. Anything by Assyrians or about Assyrians—you’ll find at our library. Here are some of our favorite picks we feel should be on the shelves of every Assyrian household:

img_3597English-Assyrian/Assyrian-English Dictionary: The Dawn of Civilization
Simo Parpola
Writing is Humankind’s most far-reaching creation. No other invention has had a longer and greater impact. The history of writing and the history of mankind are synonymous. Everything that happened prior to the invention of writing we label prehistory. Parpola’s unique dictionary covers 13,000 Assyrian entries and 17,000 English entries. It includes words attested in ancient Assyrian texts, plus Assyrian equivalents for all concepts found in a modern dictionary.

img_3604The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence
Sargon G. Donabed, Onver A. Cetrez, Aryo Makko
The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence is a collection of essays discussing Assyrian culture and identity from language, ritual, symbol, and identity perspectives from the ancient world to the modern day. The theoretical interpretations and methodological approaches covered in the book aim to narrate the past, presence and future of the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Assyrian people. Available on Amazon.


img_3601The Flickering Light of Asia
Joel E. Werda
The Flickering Light of Asia (or the Assyrian Nation and Church) was written by the Rev. Joel E. Warda and published by him in 1924. The book is divided into two parts: (1) The Assyrian Nation and the Great World War and (2) Christianity and the Assyrian Nation. This book was written to enlighten English speaking audiences about the history and plight of the Assyrians and to further their claims for a homeland during the peace conferences following WWI. Available on Lulu. Read the full text online on AINA.

img_3603Assyrians: From Bedr Khan to Saddam Hussein
Frederick A. Aprim
“The greatest catastrophe to visit the Assyrians in the modern period was the genocide committed against them, as Christians, during the Great War. From the Assyrian renaissance experienced when, miraculously, they became the objects of Western Christian missionary educational and medical efforts, the Assyrians fell into near oblivion. Shunned by the Allies at the treaties that ended WWI and after, Assyrians drifted into Diaspora, destructive denominationalism, and fierce assimilation tendencies as exercised by chauvinistic Arab, Persian and Turkish state entities. Today they face the growing clout of their old enemies and neighbors, the Kurds, another Muslim ethnic group that threatens to control power, demand assimilation, and offer to engulf Assyrians as the price for continuing to live in the ancient Assyrian homeland. As half of the world s last Aramaic speaking population has arrived in unwanted Diaspora, some voices are making an impact, including that of Frederick Aprim.” Available on Amazon.

img_3605Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan
Hannibal Travis
Genocide in the Middle East describes the genocide of the Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It situates these crimes in their historical context, as outgrowths of intolerant religious traditions, imperialism and the rise of the nation-state, Cold War insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, and the global competition for resources and markets at the expense of indigenous peoples. This requires a more thorough investigation of the case law on genocide than has been attempted in the literature on genocide to date, including detailed accounts of the prosecutions of the leaders of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, of Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials after Operation Iraqi Freedom, and of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other leaders of Sudan by the International Criminal Court.  Finally, the book explores emerging problems of genocidal terrorism, cultural genocide, and structural genocide due to starvation, disease, and displacement. Available on Amazon.

img_1979Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the Twentieth Century 
Sargon G. Donabed
Were they simply bystanders, victims of collateral damage who played a passive role in its history? Furthermore, how have they negotiated their position throughout various periods of Iraq’s state-building processes? This book details a narrative of Iraq in the twentieth century and refashions the Assyrian experience as an integral part of Iraq’s broader contemporary historiography. It is the first comprehensive account to contextualize a native experience alongside the emerging state. Using primary and secondary data, this book offers a nuanced exploration of the dynamics that have affected and determined the trajectory of the Assyrians’ experience in twentieth-century Iraq. Available on Amazon only.

img_2277A Collection of Writings on Assyrians
David B. Perley
This book collects the writings of the prominent author, the late David Barsum Perley (1901–1979), who devoted his life to the Assyrian cause. He continuously supported and fought for the rights of the Assyrians. Through his numerous writings, he gave a voice to the situation of Assyrians in their countries of origin in the Middle East. He also vehemently supported the historical Assyrian name, the Assyrian identity and the history of the Assyrians. Available on Lulu only.

All books are available for purchase at The Ashurbanipal Library unless otherwise noted. 

13 Unique Christmas Gifts for Any Assyrian

Date: November 28, 2016

It’s officially the season to start hunting down thoughtful presents for your favorite people. Whether you’ve already gotten a head-start on your holiday shopping, or you’ve yet to even make your list, this list will help you find a gift for just about any Assyrian without breaking your budget.


Lamassu Ties
Sold exclusively at AUAF, these ties have a classic, vintage look. They’re the perfect gift for any man in your life—dad, husband, boyfriend, brother, cousin, uncle, uncle’s second cousin’s father, etc. Available in two colors—a deep red or navy blue—these ties are limited in quantity, meaning once they’re gone, they’re gone. The best part? They’re only $10. Stop by The Ashurbanipal Library Store before they’re history.


Shamash Pendant
In ancient Assyria, Shamash was the god of the sun. He was also seen as the god of justice because of his power of light over darkness and evil. This sterling-silver Shamash pendant is a beautiful, subtle touch of Assyria that would liven up any outfit. It’s also available in gold. The pendant comes complete with a matching 18″ box chain for only $30. Check out Larsa’s Jewelry for their full collection which includes matching cuff links and a gorgeous Lamassu pendant.


Ugly Eda Sweater
Chances are, you’re going to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party this holiday season, so you may want to grab one of these for yourself. Either way, this sweater would make for a good laugh and a great gift. They’re available in red or blue—for both adults and children. You can feel good about this one, too, because Assyrian Heritage Tees is donating a portion of all proceeds to Etuti in time for Christmas.


buried-cheeseBuried Cheese
Nobody does cheese like the ancient Assyrians. Ancient Cooking just launched their newest product: Buried Cheese. A treasured family recipe is now yours to uncover and enjoy. Learn more about this ancient tradition by visiting their website. For only $12, this savory blend is a great pick for any cheese-lover.


Artwork by Paul Batou
Yes, we know we promised our suggestions wouldn’t break your budget—and no, we didn’t lie. If you’re like most Assyrians, you’ve been yearning for a piece of Paul Batou‘s artwork for your home or office. Get this: You can now decorate your walls with his masterpieces without spending thousands of dollars. Batou has made reprints of his custom pieces available online, making his work more accessible to his fans. There are tons of options: a canvas print, an acrylic print, a framed print—even in the form of a tote bag, a throw pillow, or an iPhone case—any of which would make a wonderful Christmas gift. Starting at $17.

umbrellaAssyrian Flag Umbrella
Okay, so we’re not really sure when you would ever really need an Assyrian flag umbrella, unless you were inspired by this adorable engagement shoot. The only place we’ve managed to track these down is Nineveh Market, and we’ve just learned that the online shop is closing soon. While these umbrellas are only $5 a piece, they’re offering incredible deals with larger purchases, so consider sifting through their merchandise before it’s too late. Other items include wall plaques, hats, stickers, and the infamous Assyrian flag towel. Nineveh Market is filled with great stocking-stuffers. With so much to offer, you should have no problem meeting their $10 minimum order.


img_2414Assyrian Alphabet Blocks
Give the gift of language—this is one gift that is certain to have a lasting impact on the little one who unwraps it. These fun, educational blocks will spark smiles and interest in the Assyrian language. While Rinyo offers fantastic videos and apps, sometimes it’s nice to go the old fashioned route. For $40, you can deliver an invaluable gift this Christmas. Order now at LearnAssyrian.com.

juliabookAtwateh d-Lishani Atoraya by Julia Sorisho Rodgers
Since we’re talking about the kids, here’s another excellent option. Assyrian-American author and illustrator Julia Sorisho Rodgers has published two bilingual board books to help Assyrian children learn the ancient language. Both books are available on Amazon for $15. Don’t snooze—they’re almost sold out.

ya-alahaSymbolic “Ya Alaha” Car Decal
One of the easiest ways to spot an Assyrian on the road is with this beloved symbol. Assyrians are always unsure where they can grab one of these, and while they’re likely available at your local church, you can also order them online from Akitu Designs for just $10. Check out their website for different variations. Slip this decal into a stocking or a Christmas card for a new driver or perhaps your mom—moms love these. Akitu Designs also offers other products, such as adorable Assyrian-themed ceramic ornaments.

img_3221Assyrian Flag License Plate Cover
Here’s another AUAF product sold at The Ashurbanipal Library Store. Priced at $10, these aluminum license plate covers are one of our most popular items and make a great gift. If you’re not in the Chicagoland area, you can also grab a similar version for $20 from Akitu Designs. They also offer license plate frames.

img_1980Reforging a Forgotten History by Sargon George Donabed
In this increasingly digital age, books have become even more meaningful as gifts. Even better—you don’t have to worry about choosing the right size or their favorite color. But the best part about gifting a book? Most gifts will eventually be discarded, but a good book will last a lifetime. Sargon Donabed’s Reforging a Forgotten History is one of our newest favorites. Purchase copies on Amazon for $35.

wawKing Ashurbanipal Relief 
Waw Allap has the most extensive collection of Assyrian goods online and has been in business since 1991. This beautiful relief is priced at just $48 and would make a wonderful addition to any Assyrian home. Assyrian heritage sites have been vandalized and destroyed in the traditional homeland—this is one way to fight back. Browse their site for all sorts of gifts—from artifact replicas to apparel, and everything in between. To quote Waw Allap: “Live it, give it, wear it, share it.”


ornamentsHandmade Assyrian Ornaments

Best for last: These stunning Assyrian ornaments are handcrafted by an Assyrian woman living in California. Priced at $14 each, these ornaments will give any tree a unique touch. Don’t delay—she sells out every year. Mix and match ornaments with Assyrian flags, lamassus, chariots, and more.