By: Hanna Hajjar
I recently read a post by some so called Aramean claiming that the name Suryoyo/Suryaya (Suryani in Arabic, and Turkish), came from Asuristan (or Athuristan) which the Persians gave to a geographical region, which later the Greeks adopted from the Persians.
The funny thing about this claim is that the person promoting it is stressing on it as being a "Geographical" name and not an "Ethnic" or "National" name.
Well here are few points that would address his false claims:
1. If the name was really a geographical name, then the Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, and Persians living in that region would have been also named Suryoyo/Suryaya/Suryani! But in reality when looking at the names of peoples living in that geographical region we see that none of them use the name Asori or its derivatives Suryoyo/Suryaya/Suryani, except those who still use the Syriac language (i.e. the Assyrians), while all others label themselves with their own ethnic name.
2. Greeks were in contact with Assyrians long before the Persians did, since the Persians came in the picture after the fall of the Elamites by the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal, (the Persians filled that vacuum in few decades afterwards). There were treaties between the Lydian Greeks and Ashurbanipal before the Persians were born! Could it be that the Greeks didn't have a name for Assyrians back then, and they had to travel in time to the future to ask the Persians of what to call the Assyrians!
3. Asoristan, Athuristan, or Ashuristan, are compound names made off: Asori-Stan, Athuri-Stan, or Ashuri-Stan, where the first part of the name refers to "Ashur" (or Assyrians), and the second part means "Land", in other words they all means The "Land of Ashur", or "Land of Assyrians", and this has nothing to do with the geography of the land, but rather the ethnic ownership of that land, namely by Assyrians.
4. Furthermore, the Persian term Asoristan/Athuristan/Ashuristan wasn't invented by the Persians, it was rather reaffirmed by Persians of what it was earlier known by Assyrians themselves. If we look at the attached photo, it represents the name of Assyria in three ways (since there were different ways of writing the name “Ashur”, I had underlined the Cuneiform text with three colors to make it easy for the viewer to follow the explanation, (noting that the brackets ( ) were added by the writer of the book for clarification):
a- The Cuneiform ideogram symbol that looks like three triangles which is underlined with a Blue line is “Matu” which means “Nation”.
b- Then it is followed by the Cuneiform underlined with a Red line represents the name of “Ashur” (written in three different ways).
c- Finally the Cuneiform ideogram symbol that is underlined with a Green line is “Ki”, which means “Land”.
In other words the Assyrians named their land as Matu-Ashur-Ki which literarily means the “Land of the Assyrian Nation”. What the Persians did at a later time, they just literarily TRANSLATED that Assyrian name into Persian and called it “Ashuri-Stan”, Athuri-Stan”, or “Asori-Stan”, where “Stan” means “Land” in Persian. As simple as that, The Persians never looked for a Geographical name that region, because if they were after a geographical names, they would have picked up a name that relates to the topography of that land, such as mountains, rivers, valleys, deserts, on the contrary they picked an ethic Assyrian name that relates to the population of that land, and that was Asori (or Assyrians).
Note: Asoristan on the left side of the map which covers Mesopotamia