Were the Assyrians and the Akkadians different peoples, or were they one and the same?

I've noticed that the Assyrians didn't seem to have their own gods as far as I have read and are just worshiping the same gods as the Akkadians.

This is lead me to believe they are the same people under a different name?

  • 5
    If you look at the Wikipedia articles Akkadian Empire and Assyria, you'll see that Assyria was one of the states that arose after the Akkadian period. If there is anything you need after checking these articles, please edit your question to let us know what you need clarified. Thank you. Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 9:10
  • 3
    Are you specifically asking if they were similar ethnically or whether the Assyrians saw themselves as the same opeople? If so, could you clarify your question?
    – Robert Columbia
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


No man ever steps in the same river twice. - Heraclitus

Akkad was a long-lasting culture in the Tigris-Euphrates river system, which included a language of the East Semitic family, as well as an empire for about 180 years ending around 2154 BC.

Assyria was a culture centered on the upper Tigris, which included a language descended from Akkadian, and an empire of its own for about 750 years ending around 609 BC.

One could say this is similiar to the modern nations of France, Spain, and Italy, which are modern nations on the same territory as Rome, and speaking languages descended from Latin. But does that make French people the same as Romans? Of course not. A lot of time passed between the two, and in that time there was no small amount of genetic and cultural change. That's why we call them "French" rather than "Roman". There's a big enough difference that its more useful to think of them as separate people.

That's the situation with the Akkadians; Babylonian and Assyrian are both descendant languages from Akkadian1, but in different places. Are they the same people? No, or we'd still be calling them Akkadian. However, they were both cultural descendants of Akkadians.

1 - The literature seems to like to call them dialects or "variant forms" or even a sprachbund, but one could make the same claim about French and Spanish for a lot of their history


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.