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Asuristan (असुरिस्तान) was the name of the Sasanian province of Assyria and Babylonia from 226 to 637.[1][2]



The Parthian name Asōristān (𐭀𐭎𐭅𐭓𐭎𐭕𐭍; also spelled Asoristan, Asuristan, Asurestan, Assuristan) is known from Shapur I's inscription on the Ka'ba-ye Zartosht, and from the inscription of Narseh at Paikuli. The adjective āsōrīg in Middle Persian accordingly means “Assyrian”.[3] The region was also called several other names: Assyria, Athura Bēṯ Aramāyē (Classical Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܐܪܡܝܐ‎), Bābēl / Bābil, and Erech / Erāq. After the mid-6th century it was also called Khvārvarān in Persian.

The name Asōristān is a compound of Asōr ("Assyria") and the Iranian suffix -istān ("land of"). The name Assyria, in the form Asōristān, was shifted to include ancient Babylonia by the Parthians, and this continued under the Sasanians.[4] The historical country of Assyria (Athura), however, lay to the north of Babylonian Asoristan, in the independent frontier province of Osroene.[5]


During the Achaemenid (550–330 BCE) and Parthian Empires (150 BCE – 225 CE), this region had been known by the Old Persian name Athura. Asōristān, Middle Persian "land of Assyria", was the capital province of the Sasanian Empire and was called Dil-ī Ērānshahr, meaning "Heart of Iran".[6] The city of Ctesiphon served as the capital of both the Parthian and Sasanian Empire, and was for some time the largest city in the world.[7]

The main language spoken by the Assyrian people was Eastern Aramaic, with the local Syriac language becoming an important vehicle for Syriac Christianity. The Church of the East was founded in Asōristān.[8] Asōristān was largely identical with ancient Mesopotamia. The northern border is somewhat uncertain but probably went along a line from Anta to Takrīt. Ḥīra was probably the southernmost point, the border then following the northern part of the swamps of Wasit.[9]

The Parthians had exercised only loose control at times, allowing for a number of Syriac-speaking Assyrian kingdoms to flourish in Upper Mesopotamia, the independent Osroene, as well as the districts of Adiabene and the partly Assyrian state of Hatra. The Sasanian Empire conquered Assyria and Mesopotamia from the Parthians during the 220s, and by 260 had abolished these city-states, with the 3000-year-old city of Assur being sacked in 256. Some regions appear to have remained partly autonomous as late as the latter part of the fourth century, with an Assyrian king named Sinharib reputedly ruling a part of Assyria in the 370s.

Between 633-8, the region was invaded by the Arabs during the Muslim conquest of Persia; together with Meshan, it became the province of al-ʿIrāq. Asōristān was devolved by 639, bringing an end to over 3000 years of Assyria as a geopolitical entity. A century later, the area became the capital province of the Abbasid Caliphate and the centre of Islamic Golden Age for five hundred years, from the 8th to the 13th centuries.

After the Muslim conquest, Asōristān saw a gradual but large influx of Muslim peoples; at first Arabs, but later also including Iranian and Turkic peoples.

The Assyrian peoples continued to endure, rejecting Arabization and Islamization, and continued to form the majority population of the north as late as the 14th century, until the religiously-motivated massacres of Timur drastically reduced their numbers and led to the city of Assur being finally abandoned. After this period, the Assyrians became the ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in their homeland that they are to this day.

Sura = Assyria

K.P. Jayaswal [10] writes....The Varavatyas were Yadavas as mentioned at p. 604 (verse 324) Yātavā Vārayatyāś (cha) . The Varavatyas seem to be noted in the Paikuli Sassanian inscription in Asuristan in the form of Boraspacin whose chief was Mitra al-Sen in 294 A.D. (JJBORS., XIX) . It is noted in the AMMK that from the sea the Valabhi (Kathiawar) people used to cross over to Sura, which refers to their trade ventures to and regular commerce with Assyria. The port Śūrapāraka (Sopārā) acquired that name for being the port of embarkation for Assyria.

External links


  1. "ĀSŌRISTĀN". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  2. Buck, Christopher (1999). Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baháí̕ Faith. SUNY Press. p. 69. ISBN 9780791497944.
  3. "ĀSŌRISTĀN". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  4. Panaino, Antonio C.D.; Pettinato, Giovanni (2002). Ideologies as Intercultural Phenomena. Melammu Project. p. 76. ISBN 9788884831071.
  5. The Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. to the Present, Part 25. Richard Ernest Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt Dupuy. Harper & Row, 1970. Page 115.
  6. Buck, Christopher (1999). Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baháí̕ Faith. SUNY Press. p. 69. ISBN 9780791497944.
  7. Rosenberg, Matt T. (2007). "Largest Cities Through History". New York:
  8. Khanbaghi, Aptin. The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran. I.B. Tauris. p. 6. ISBN 9781845110567.
  9. "ĀSŌRISTĀN". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  10. An Imperial History Of India/Provincial History of Lāḍa Sea-coast (Kachh-Sindh),p.25