The Destruction of Assyrian Culture

The Times of Israel has published a very sad note of an event that could be considered a cultural crime against humanity. This sad event affects all those who appreciate the historical heritage left to us by the nations of the ancient Near East. Here is the headline:

Radical Islamists take hammer to Syrian artifacts

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters smash 3,000-year-old Assyrian statue in latest act of cultural genocide

Two pictures released by a group working to protect Syria’s rich archeological historical heritage show radical Islamists smashing a 3,000-year-old Neo-Assyrian statue. According to Syrian antiquities authority, the statue was stolen from an archaeological site.

There is no way of ascertaining whether the statue was genuine or a copy of the original. “It was not immediately clear from the photographs whether the statue that was smashed was genuine. A Tel Aviv Assyriologist who preferred anonymity said that, based on the photos, the statue appeared to be authentic, ‘although it could be a copy placed outside the museum [in Hasakeh],’ he added with due caution.”

The two pictures below show the statue before and after it was smashed by the protesters.

The Statue Before It Was Destroyed

Syria 1

The Statue After It Was Smashed

Syria 2

The looting and destruction of Assyrian antiquities is a tragedy that was brought about by a war in Syria that has attracted many radical fighters attracted by a political ideology that rejects many cultural traditions that differ from their own.

This destruction of antiquities also shows that many people do not appreciate the cultural tradition of Syria, a country that “houses remains from over 5,000 years of human civilization.”

It is time for the United Nations, UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the USA, and other nations of the world to raise their voice and cry with a loud voice: “Enough is enough” and do something to stop this destruction of the past.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Assyria and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Destruction of Assyrian Culture

  1. Ugh. This is so troubling. Just curious, though, why do these pictures have “APSA 2011” written on them. Are they actually recent pictures?


    • APSA stands for The Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology and 2011 was the year the association was organized.

      It is tragic that radical fighters are destroying Assyrian monuments and obliterating the culture of the past. I just wish someone would do something to strop this tragedy.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Claude Mariottini


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