Six untruths about the Chaldeans


  1. The Chaldean identity was made up or invented.

A general explanatory dictionary teaches us that the verbs ‘make up’ and ‘invent’ mean that one thinks up or imagines something new. Chaldeans are a Semitic people of Mesopotamia with roots dating back to prehistoric times. “Assyrian nationalists” should know that, because it was Nabopolassar, a Chaldean king, who ended the Assyrian empire in 612 B.C. No self-respecting historian will deny the historical existence of the Chaldeans as an ethnic people, for that would be the same as denying the light of the sun.


  1. The Chaldean name is a religious name.

The Chaldean Catholic Church is a church in union with Rome, and this church maintains its own Chaldean rite. This rite has its origins in the Church of the East. Chaldeans profess a Catholic faith and not a so-called ‘Chaldean faith’. The term Chaldean therefore does not refer to a religious belief, but refers to an ethnic people that still exists today. For example, the term ‘Greek’ of the Greek Orthodox Church is not a religious name, but a reference to the ethnic origin of the Greeks. The different faiths are commonly known as Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Coptic, etc.


  1. A Chaldean is an ethnic Assyrian belonging to the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Taking into account what we have written in the second statement, it is clear that “Chaldean” is a term that denotes a people and not a religion. If we are allowed to make the distinction on an ethnic level, we can conclude that it is absurd that a person can have two ethnicities, because an ethnicity is a socio-cultural identity of a certain population group.


  1. Chaldean is a designation given by Rome in the 16th century to Catholic converts from the Church of the East.


One cannot name something or someone that already exists (see statement number 1). It is more correct to say that the name Chaldeans was used to identify Catholic converts from the Church of the East. This is for the simple reason that they identified themselves that way, otherwise they would not have accepted it. The language they spoke was called Chaldean. The Christians who had not become Catholic also called themselves Chaldeans until the early 20th century. Only in the 20th century was the term ‘Assyrian’ reintroduced as a designation of a people, for political reasons.


The logical question we should ask the Assyrian nationalists is: why didn’t they call themselves Assyrians in the 16th century if that’s what they were anyway? Did they not know that they were Assyrians and did they only find out 2500 years after the fall of the Assyrian empire?

  1. Chaldeans lived in the south of Mesopotamia and Assyrians in the north.


This is a convenient theory that “Assyrian nationalists” use to show that Eastern Christians live in northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey) and cannot possibly be Chaldean.

We are going to consider all the Eastern Christians who belong to the historic Church of the East. The Church of the East has geographical roots in southern Mesopotamia (more specifically in ancient Seleucia-Ctesiphon, near ancient Babylon and modern-day Baghdad). The headquarters of this Church was located in this city in the first centuries after Christianity. All the Eastern Christians belonging to this Church were one people with a common language, spread throughout Mesopotamia.

It is therefore impossible to say that there was a distinction based on geography. Moreover, there have been several moments in history when these Christians fled to other places in the Mesopotamian region due to persecution. Geographical arguments post-dating Christianity are useless in this regard.

Read more about this in the article: Chaldeans in Northern Mesopotamia


  1. The term ‘Suraye’ comes from ‘Ashuraya’.


This is intended to show that all the Christians from the Middle East, known as ‘Suraya’, are ethnic descendants of the ancient Assyrians. The term ‘Suraye’ refers to the Eastern Christians who originally belonged to the mother church of Antioch (then located in the Roman province of ‘Syria’) and therefore has nothing to do with the ancient Assyrian empire. Both the Assyria area and the Syria area are separate. Furthermore, the city of Assyria was not in the area we know as Syria. Both areas are always mentioned separately in history books.

Read more about this in the article: Suraye does not mean Ashuraye




Every historian is free to make any historical claim, but after making a claim it must be supported by acceptable evidence. Historiography is a delicate and analytical work in which one tries to arrive at a narrative of facts. One must consider all the sources as a whole. If we, here and there, at our own discretion, omit a few centuries or take texts out of context, then we are not writing history but falsifying history. Political motives often play a role in this. This is clearly the case with the Assyrian nationalism that emerged after the First World War.