Volume II Issue 8 April 1, 1996
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A Weekly Online Newsletter Serving the Assyrian Communities Around the World
The following is Mar Shimoon Bar Sabbai's blessing for
the five bishops and one hundred clergy who along
with his Excellency had refused to worship the sun as
decreed by King Shapur II of Persia.
"May the Cross of our Lord be the protection
of the people of Jesus;
The peace of God be with the servants of God,
and establish your hearts in the faith of Christ,
in tribulation and in ease,
in life and in death,
now and for evermore."
Mar Shimoon and his followers were
executed on Good
Friday of the year 339 A.D.
THE L I G H T H O U S E
The Sumerians, like the Greeks,
commenced the counting
of each day (U-mu), at sunset (Kid-da-at u-mu). Each
day, then, was reckoned as the period from sunset to
sunset. The months (Itu) were begun in the period of
the new moon (Bu-ub-bu-lum, literally the 'time of the
ravishment of the moon'), literally commencing at the
time of the moon's emergence in the heaven's following
its disappearance at the new moon (U-na-am, literally
the day of the moons renewal). The months were 30 days
long, with the first quarter occurring on the 7th, and
the full moon on the 15th. These days, together with the
period of the new moon, formed the sacred cycle of the
month. The Sumerians celebrated these aspects of the
moon's phases on the first, seventh, and fifteenth of
each month. These three days formed the monthly Essesu
Festival. The importance of these sacred days is
articulated in the Atrahasis myth, Tablet I, columns
204-207, as Enki sets about the creation of man:
-Enki opened his mouth and addressed
the great Gods,
'On the first, seventh, and fifteenth day of the month
I will make a purifying bath'
The necessity for observation of
these sacred days is
reiterated in a number of collected Mesopotamian
letters which refer to the necessity of 'passing the
first, seventh, and fifteenth as you have been taught.'
This observance, in the minimum, included a ritual bath:
a sacred immersion in the creative Waters of Life.
The first month of the year, Mas-Azag-Kur
in the Standard Mesopotamian Calendar), began in the
period of the first new moon following the yearly
barley harvest. The months would then proceed apace at
30 days each, spanning 12 months. This wholly lunar
cycle, however, invariably left a gap within the Solar
year to be filled. To cure this problem, and keep the
first month succeeding the barley harvest, the Sumerians
placed an intervening intercalary month known as Itu-diri
BEFORE the twelfth month, Itu-Se-Gur-Kud, the 'month of
the harvesting of the barley.' This intercalary month
was utilized only when, upon examination of the length of
time remaining in the barley season, it was determined
that Mas-Azag-Kur would not fall directly after the barley
harvest. Under the Meton Cycle, such intercalary months
would be utilized at a frequency of roughly seven per
In the same way they were able to
unify their year with
the Circle of Life, so to did the Sumerians operate a
system of timekeeping quite literally within the confines
of a circle. Time was related to the degree of apparent
motion of the sun, Utu, as it traveled across the heavens
each day. Each degree of motion was calculated as 4 minutes,
called one "Us". The entire circle was said to comprise
12 'temporal hours', or "Beru", which were literally
double-hours of 30 Us each.
The Sumerians had no concept of
daylight savings, though
they were well aware of the variances in the length of
daylight and nighttime hours in the course of the year.
Though the Sumerian day was uniformly held to consist of
6 Beru, or 12 hours of temporal daylight; and 6 Beru, or
12 hours of temporal nighttime, adjustments to the real
as opposed to temporal hours was made. To this end, a
series of associations was expounded. For example, a
temporal hour of daylight plus a temporal hour of
nighttime always equals 2 REAL hours. Thus, a measurement
of the length in real hours of either daylight or night-
time will yield the solution to the length of the inverse.
In addition, there were specific
between and among the months of the year. Specifically,
in the month of the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the length
of daylight and nighttime real hours was assumed equal.
Conversely, in the month of the Summer Solstice daylight
was held to be twice the length of nighttime real hours,
and in the month of the Winter Solstice, Nighttime was
held to be twice the length of the daylight real hours.
In addition, the month preceding the equinoxes were held
have the same ratio of daylight to nighttime real hours as
the month following the Equinoxes, and the month preceding
the solstices was similarly held to possess the same ratio
of daylight to nighttime real hours ratio as the month
following the Solstices. With this complex system of
relations, the calculation of the length of real daylight
and nighttime hours was extremely simplified for these
[Mr. Sullivan, a ZENDA reader, maintains
the contents of
the website mentioned above. His article was written in
response to our recent installment "The Arrival of Spring"
in Literatus (Vol. II #7)]
G O O D M O R N I N G B E T - N A H R A I N
IRAQ COMPLAINS AGAINST U.S. INVOLVEMENT
IN THE NORTH
(RU: Baghdad) Iraq accused the United
interfering in its internal affairs by planning talks
with rival Kurdish factions in northern Bet-Nahrain.
State-run newspapers carried a foreign ministry statement
lambasting the U.S. aerial protection of Kurds and its
attempts to reconcile the rival factions. Robert Deutsch,
head of the northern Gulf affairs section at the U.S.
State Department, is planning to visit northern Bet-
Nahrain in mid-April to end fighting between warring
Kurdish groups. Fighting has erupted between the two
main Iraqi Kurdish factions, the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The PUK this week urged the KDP to renew peace talks
with U.S. mediation and consolidate their cease-fire.
Thursday, Turkey's parliament approved a three-month
extension of the mandate for the U.S.-led Operation
Provide Comfort that protects the Kurds from attacks
by the Iraqi government in Baghdad.
CONTINUE TO CONTINUE NEXT WEEK
(RU: Kuwait) A U.S. official accused
Iraq of misusing
talks on limited oil exports to try to regain control
of northern Bet-Nahrain. Edward Gnehm, deputy head of
Washington's mission at United Nations headquarters in
New York, said any limited resumption of Iraq oil exports
under a U.N. oil-for-food plan would not lead to an
easing of Gulf War sanctions against Baghdad. On March 18,
Iraqi and U.N. negotiators wrapped up their second round
of talks on how to implement U.N. resolution 986
permitting Baghdad $2 billion of oil sales over six
months. Iraq is under stringent U.N. trade sanctions,
including a ban on its oil exports, imposed after it
invaded Kuwait in 1990. The two sides are scheduled to
resume the talks April 8.
S U R F S U P !
"It seems that every issue I read reassures me that
there maybe light at the end of the tunnel. This is
one of the greatest revolutions that's ever happened
in the Assyrian world. The fact that we have this
vehicle to communicate with one another across space
and time, not knowing who most of the recipients are,
sharing of our beliefs, thoughts, hopes, dreams out
of our love and concern for Assyrian people and
I was very much moved by this issues
Vivian Younan, the article you included as her writing
fills my heart with joy that Assyrians can be so
effective in their writing and sharing of talent,
knowledge and beliefs. I wish such writings can be
accessible to the world outside ZENDA's subscribers
so they too can experience such writings.
I was especially moved by the line
"but do not ever
forget that the present is the key to tomorrow". I am
so glad to have read this line, written by someone else,
for I so much believe in it, and I am so much against
our dwelling in our past and wasting energy over what
no longer is, instead of using our energy of what there
is today and what we can make happened tomorrow with
the help of GOD and our savior Jesus as our foremost
leader in all of our battles. This leads me to mention
that I am a little concerned about one statement in
Vivian Younan's message in which she states ", and you
will realize that she really is ALL POWERFUL, and ALL
KNOWING". The uppercase to direct your attention to
where my concern is. While Vivian is speaking about
mother Assyria, I believe that only GOD is All powerful
and All knowing and no one else is, and I strongly
believe that unless all Assyrians believe in that, all
of our efforts will go to waste, for we are nothing and
can do nothing unless he is first and foremost in the
lives of everyone of us.
Thank you and I look forward to
the next release."
San Jose, California
"Reading Janey [Golani]'s article
brings to my mind
what I always thought about it, and that thing is, for
a long time Assyrians have been migrating to North
America and some Assyrians have lived here for so long
and some even born here. When will the time come that
we start to learn that we need Democracy in our life, in
our society? Can't we see that the power of the Western
part of the world is in practicing freedom and democracy?
>From reading her article it looks like we didn't change
a lot from the way we've been thinking in the past 20
years. I think Janey is right and the issue still, as
old as the time I was living back home, is that Everybody
wants to be a leader!!!!!!)."
"The work you are doing for the
Assyrian Community is
impeccable! Keep it up."
S U R F E R S C O R N E R
GAP: What's the significance of the year B.C. 4750
in the calculation of the Assyrian Year 6746?
The Temple in the city of Ashur (Assur).
Submit your answer before next Sunday.
educated or a wild guess is welcome.
N E W S D I G E S T
THE FATE OF QUEEN SHEMIRAN
TO BE DECIDED IN CHICAGO
Sculptor Fred Parhad's monument
of Queen Shamiram of
Assyria is coming to Chicago. The Department of Cultural
Affairs in Chicago will meet to discuss the site of the
Assyrian monument on April 11, 1996. The site requested
by Mr. Parhad is downtown Chicago, where it is hoped the
monument will get the most exposure. Mr. Fred Parhad,
who also sculpted the Ashurbanipal sculpture in
San Francisco in 1988 plans a new monument portraying
the Great Assyrian Exodus of 1915. For information
contact Fred Parhad
1220 Conn RD
St. Helena, CA 94574
or write to Robert Dekalaita at
STAR SOCCER TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS
(SC: Chicago ) On March
16th, The Nineveh Star soccer
team of Chicago has reached the semi-finals of the
Soccermania Senior men Indoor Soccer Tournament with a
record of 5-2-2. The Star is in the third place to face
the Wolfpack S.C. in the first place.
D I R E C T O R Y OF THE N E W S S O U R C E S
RU (Reuters): ClariNet Communications
SC: soc.culture.assyrian newsgroup
UP (United Press International)
WS (Wall Street Journal)
ZN (Zenda: email@example.com)
C A L E N D A R OF E V E N T S
The Assyrian Art Exhibition 1996
(416) 972-0106 Voice
(416) 650-1983 Fax
Two Plays by William Daniel
"The Meeting" & "Tdalaboota"
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California
Assyrian State Convention of California
San Jose, U.S.A.
Memorial Weekend Games
2nd Assyrian Community Networking Conference
San Jose, U.S.A.
Nineveh Choral Concert
Conducted by Maestro Nebu Issabey
Santa Teresa High School Auditorium
San Jose, U.S.A.
The ARAM Conference
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A
Thru Aug 15
"Beirut: Uncovering the Past"
Profiles recent UNESCO archeology efforts
The British Museum
Aug 29-Sept 2 AANF National
Red Lion Inn Hotel
April 12 St. Mary's Annual Church Party
Assyrian Catholic Church
Scottish Rite Center
San Jose, California
Entertainer: Walter Aziz/Haroot Band
Nights of Babylon DJ
Neesan Dinner Social
at Jora's Restaurant
1250 Aviation Ave, STE 235
San Jose, California
Fridays Assyrian Educational & Cultural Club at
Modesto Junior College
Founders Hall 108
Thursdays Nineveh Choir: Maestro Nebu Issabey
BETA: AAA of San Jose, U.S.A.
A S S Y R I A N S U R F I N G P O S T S
No new sites
P U M P U P T H E V O L U M E
Flood ma-mo-la [M]
Tornado kroo-khee-ta [F]
Earthquake ro-daa-naa [M]
Note: pronounce "mo"
in mamola as in English "motel"
F = Feminine M = Masculine P = Plural
B A C K T O T H E F U T U R E
B.C. (1650) The period of Hurrian
domination in the
history of ancient Assyria begins. The vassal-governors
of Ashur are elevated to royal status, claiming direct
descent from an ancestor called Adasi.
<< G. van Driel, The Cult
of Assur, Studia Semitica
Needlandica, vol 13, 1969 >>
A.D. (1905) A book entitled the
Awakening of the Arab
Nation by Najib Assuri of Syria calls for the
armed rising of an Arab state in the Middle East.
<< Zeine, The Emergence of
Arab Nationalism, 1966 >>
L I T E R A T U S
*** A SUMERIAN RESURRECTION ***
From the "Descent of Ishtar into the Netherworld"
One sprinkled upon her [Ishtar]
the food of life,
the other, the water of life.
Inanna is about to ascend from the nether world,
The Anunnaki seized her (saying):
"Who of those who have descended to the nether world
ever ascends unharmed from the nether world!"
T H I S W E E K I N H I S T O R Y
April 1, 1886: born, Sargis
Osipov, Assyrian linguist
in Tbilisi (Tiflis), Georgia
April 1, 1988: members of
the Cultural Wave of Nisibin
celebrate first anniversary of their
grouping, with 89 members present at the
Kha b'Neesan celebrations in San Jose,
B R A V O
Volume nine, Number 2 issue of the
Journal of the
Assyrian Academic Society is out. To receive your
copy write to:
JAAS P.O. Box
4102, De Plaines, IL 60016-4102
Smaple articles from this issue:
-Italian policy toward Assyrians
-Amulets and the Assyrians of Kurdistan
-Verb tenses in Assyrian Aramaic
-The first modern Assyrian printed book
Congratulations to the editors of
publication whose focus is the language, culture,
and history of the Assyrian civilization.
W E L C O M E T O Z E N D A
Zenda welcomes our new on-line subscribers from:
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S
Zenda wishes to thank the following individuals &
organizations whose contributions appear in this issue:
Daniel Sullivan Twin Rivers
ZENDA will continue to print your
suggestions free of editing, as they appear in our
mailbox. All letters will be printed in our SURFS UP!
section unless directed otherwise.
We urge you to submit your community
accomplishments, and meeting/school times to Zenda
no later than Sunday, 12:00 PM, Pacific Standard Time.
Our Next Issue will appear on Monday, April 8, 1996.