I got excited when Juliet posted this link, but when I went there I discovered there was no Sumerian text, just an interview with Dr. Simo Parpola, the Assyriologist who did the translation; I guess you have to buy the CD if you want the goods. Still, it’s worth posting if only for the remarkable picture of Doctor Ammondt (who did an earlier CD Rocking in Latin) as a Sumerian deity—as is the extensive page of Sumerian links where Juliet found the Elvis. Furthermore, it led me to this article by Parpola on the survival of Assyrians and their culture after the fall of the Assyrian Empire, which should fascinate anyone who, like me, is interested in ancient Mesopotamia:
Yet it is clear that no such thing as a wholesale massacre of all Assyrians ever happened. It is true that some of the great cities of Assyria were utterly destroyed and looted—archaeology confirms this—, some deportations were certainly carried out, and a good part of the Assyrian aristocracy was probably massacred by the conquerors. However, Assyria was a vast and densely populated country, and outside the few destroyed urban centers life went on as usual….
Distinctively Assyrians names are also found in later Aramaic and Greek texts from Assur, Hatra, Dura-Europus and Palmyra, and continue to be attested until the beginning of the Sasanian period. These names are recognizable from the Assyrian divine names invoked in them; but whereas earlier the other name elements were predominantly Akkadian, they now are exclusively Aramaic. This coupled with the Aramaic script and language of the texts shows that the Assyrians of these later times no longer spoke Akkadian as their mother [tongue]. In all other respects, however, they continued the traditions of the imperial period.
Contemporaries and later Greek historians did not make a big distinction between the Assyrian Empire and its successors: in their eyes, the “monarchy” or “universal hegemony” first held by the Assyrians had simply passed to or been usurped by other nations. For example, Ctesias of Cnidus writes: “It was under [Sardanapallos] that the empire (hegemonia) of the Assyrians fell to the Medes, after it had lasted more than thirteen hundred years.”….
The Babylonian, Median and Persian empires should thus be seen (as they were seen in antiquity) as successive versions of the same multinational power structure, each resulting from an internal power struggle within this structure. In other words, the Empire was each time reborn under a new leadership, with political power shifting from one nation to another.
He concludes by saying that he takes seriously the assertion of Assyrian identity by Syrians in Greco-Roman times (like Iamblichus, whose name “is a Greek version of the Aramaic name Ia-milik, which is already attested in Assyrian imperial sources”) and its continuation in “the oppressed and persecuted, Aramaic-speaking Christian Assyrians of today.” This resonates with similar ideas in the controversial (and irresistibly snotty) Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook (see description here). I don’t know whether it will hold up under scholarly assault, but it makes you rethink history, and that’s always a good thing.