The Assyrian Calendar begins with the
first recorded year of the "beginning of
civilization" (shooraya d'mdeetanayoota) as
seen through the eyes of the ancient Bet-Nahranaye
(Mesopotamians). These ancient inhabitants
of Assyria, Babylon, and Sumer believed that
civilization was a "gift from the gods" and
it was marked from the time "kingship was
lowered from heaven."
The earliest sign of municipal
administration (kingship in pre-historic
sense) appears during the Halaf Period in
Mesopotamia (over 7000 years ago). The most
notable characteristics of this period are
the "sitting goddess figurines" indicating a
goddess-worshipping culture and the
distinctive colored potteries with geometric
designs pointing to the existence of a
high-culture civilization in Mesopotamia.
The Sumerian term akiti meant "building
life on earth" symbolizing the handing of
life from gods to man. The Babylonians
adopted this term and called their New Year
festival Akitu (modern-day Kha b'Neesan).
According to the latest archeological
findings in Anatolia, the transformation of
localized settlements to the first cities
took place between 4300 to 3450 B.C..
Religion was the main focus of socialization
during this period and each city possessed a
religious complex (i.e. ziggurats). Each
city was administered by a "local king" or
lugal. Archeologists refer to this period as
the Early to Middle Uruk Periods.
In the 1950's Assyrians believed that
based on the research findings of their
contemporary archaeologists the first
construction of the city of Ashur's temple
during the Uruk Period took place around
4750 B.C. This date was then recorded as the
beginning of "civilization" in Mesopotamia.
In fact, the impetus behind this decision
was the publication of a series of articles
in the Assyrian magazine Gilgamesh, edited
by the famous brothers Addi and Jean Alkhas
and Nimrod Simono.
It is possible that the exact date of the
beginning of civilization in Mesopotamia may
vary as more accurate research reveals the
existence of a more ancient and "civilized"
culture in Bet-Nahrain. This fascinating
topic remains as enigmatic as the exact date
of the birth of Jesus Christ whose year of
birth has been the fulcrum of historicity
for the past two thousand years.
Incidentally, the Jewish Calendar has
very questionable origins also. It begins
with the year 3760 B.C. (as opposed to
Assyrian 4750 B.C.). Indeed the year 3760
B.C. coincides with the time "kingship was
lowered to mankind" in the city of Kish,
Until the Vatican can provide solid proof
that Jesus of Nazareth was born precisely
2001 years ago on December 25 and the
Israeli Knesset can furnish evidence of
Jewish Heritage in the year 3760 B.C., Zinda
Magazine will continue to post the year 4750
B.C. as the beginning of "civilization" in
Mesopotamia and the birth of "Assyrian
Conscience" in Bet-Nahrain.