Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide, A History

By Marshall, Paul | The Christian Century, July 19, 2017 | Go to article overview

Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide, A History


Marshall, Paul, The Christian Century


Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide, A History

By Joseph Yacoub

Oxford University Press, 288 pp., $29.95

This meticulous and moving book was originally published in France in 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian and Assyrian genocides--what Assyrians call "the Year of the Sword" (Seyfo). The Armenian genocide is well known. But despite ample documentation and eyewitness reports, the Assyrian genocide is much less known, partly because the Assyrians are often little known. Smaller in number than the Armenians, the Assyrians were widely dispersed, far from urban centers, and never had a state. An Assyrian document dated September 1,1920, notes: "Battered and stricken nations like ours do not have enough men to have their voices heard."

Assyrians--also called Chaldeans, Syriacs, Nestorians, or Jacobites--are descended from the early peoples of Mesopotamia with a history of perhaps 5,000 years. Most became Christian in the first century (through the mission of the apostle Thomas, their tradition claims), and they continue to speak Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. They were sundered from many other churches over theological differences at the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, and the majority became members of two churches: the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All of the East, and the Ancient Church of the East (often erroneously called "Nestorian"). Those who later came into communion with the Catholic Church are usually called Chaldean.

The Ancient Church of the East responded to Western rejection by becoming perhaps the greatest missionary church in history. Its operating languages were Syriac, Persian, Turkish, Sogdian, and Chinese. It established 250 dioceses and 1,000 monasteries from Iraq to India and China. It had bishops in Afghanistan, Arabia, China, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Turkestan, and Yemen. It may even have reached to Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Later its numbers and reach were crushed, principally by Mongol conquests. Joseph Yacoub estimates that at the outset of World War I, there were about 600,000 Assyrians in the Middle East. They often had peace and sometimes suffered persecution in the Ottoman Empire, especially in its later years. But in 1915, the goal was "to drive them out from geographical zones considered too politically sensitive by Turkish nationalists." Consequently, "hundreds of thousands of people were massacred or died of thirst, hunger, poverty, exhaustion or illness on the road to exile or deportation." Yacoub describes the massive scale of the genocide: "During the 2015 massacres more than 250,000 Assyrians of all different religious persuasions ... died at the hands of Turks, Kurdish irregulars, and other ethnic groups."

The massacres of Assyrians took place over a large area in what is now Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran--almost in the same places and the same ways as with the Armenians. In addition to the rape, torture, enslavement, and killings of people, historical monuments and artifacts were destroyed, churches profaned, and libraries of books and manuscripts vandalized and robbed.

Attacks continued, with massacres in 1918, 1924, and in Iraq in 1933. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide, A History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.