Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, larger than Mercury itself, has eponymous names to its craters after the gods and heroes of the ancient Fertile Crescent. One such, Asshur, is named after the Assyro-Babylonian warrior god. Asshur is Hebrew for Assyria. one of the great ancient empires: the word Assyria(n) in the Old Testament has been translated from the Hebrew word Asshur. ¹

The capital city of Assyria until 900 BCE, when it became one only of several important cities in the greatly enlarged empire. The name was also used for the patron-god of the city and in the OT stands for the nation itself (Hos. 14: 3, AV). ²

Asshur was founded, on the western bank of the Tigris, in 1700 BC by Bel-kap-kapu. Ancient Assyria’s headquarters eventually settled to the opposite, eastern bank, in Nineveh — present-day Mosul, northern Iraq.

Map showing location of Assur and Nineveh in Assyria. [Wikimedia Commons]
‘Indeed, as long as Assyria lasted, that is until 612 BC, accounts of battles, diplomatic affairs and foreign bulletins were daily read out to his image; and every Assyrian king held that he wore the crown only with the express permission of Asshur’s deified ghost.’ ¹

Assyrian Empire. [Image as uploaded by user: Ningyou and derived from a map in ‘Atlas of the Bible Lands’, C S Hammond & Co (1959) is in the Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons]
Some scholars suggest that the Assyrians were forced to migrate north to eventually become what is modern-day Germany.

2004 CIA Map of Iraq [Wikimedia Commons]
Iraq, topographical [Wikimedia Commons]
Iraq, provincial [Wikimedia Commons]
Ethnic and religious groups in Iraq: Shia Arabs (pink); Sunni Arabs (green); Kurds (yellow); Assyrians (purple); Yazidis (olive); Iraqi Turkmens (orange). [Wikimedia Commons]
Note: Southern Iraq is descendent from Arphaxad.



Asshur in the Bible

Son of Shem, and ancestor of the Assyrians

  • Genesis 10:11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
  • Genesis 10:22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
  • 1 Chronicles 1:17 The sons of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram, and Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech.
  • Ezekiel 32:22 Asshur is there and all her company: his graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword:



The Vedic Age Vishnu Ashura / Ahura Mazda. He rides on Grauda-Ananta and holds His discus, while possibly making a blessing sign [Image and text: Collected Works of Sri Bhakti Ananda Goswami]
Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther, Rembrandt (1606-1669) [Wikipedia]

Further Reading
  • According to Sarna, the Ashurrim of Genesis 25:3 is not Assyria, but another, much smaller, people with the same name. —Sarna. Genesis (1989)
  1. The sixteen grandsons of Noah, by Harold Hunt with Russell Grigg – Creation
  2. Asshur, Oxford Biblical Studies Online
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