Opinion
              In this Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian military solider fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with rebels in Maaloula village, northeast of the capital Damascus, Syria. Rebels including al-Qaida-linked fighters gained control of Maaloula, Syrian activists said Sunday. Government media provided a dramatically different account of the battle suggesting regime forces were winning. It was impossible to independently verify the reports from Maaloula, a scenic mountain community known for being one of the few places in the world where residents still speak the ancient Middle Eastern language of Aramaic. (AP Photo/SANA)

What you didn’t know about Syria

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William Federer
President, Amerisearch, Inc.
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      William Federer

      William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America's noble heritage.

Assyria was the world’s first empire.

Around the year 2371, as related by Peter BetBasoo, the Assyrian Empire under Sargon of Akkad absorbed the original Sumerian civilization of the Mesopotamian Valley.

The oldest piece of literature on Earth was written in the original Assyrian language of Akkadian, the Epic of Gilgamesh, around 2500 BC.

The ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, near present-day Mosul, became a major religious/cultural center by 1800 BC, around the time of Abraham.

In 760 BC, the Old Testament prophet Jonah preached in Nineveh and it repented.

In 727-721 BC, King Shalmaneser V ruled the Neo-Assyrian Empire and carried Israel’s ten northern tribes into captivity.

King Sennacherib, 705-681 BC, made Nineveh one of the most magnificent capitals in the world. The word “Arab” is actually the Assyrian word “westerner,” first used by King Sennacherib in telling his conquest of the “ma’rabayeh”–westerners.

Assyrians and Babylonians laid down the fundamental basis of mathematics, the Pythagorean Theorem, the concept of zero and designed parabolic domes and arches.

Beginning in 538 BC, for the next seven centuries Assyria was ruled by other empires: Persian Achaemenid, Macedonian (Alexander the Great), Seleucid, Parthian Arascid, Roman and Sassanid.

Greeks began shortening the name to “Syria.”

The new lingua franca for Syria was the Aramaic language, in use at the time of Christ and still in use by Christians in the small Syrian village of Ma’loula, which was overrun by rebels this week.