The religion of Assyrian Empire (sometimes called Ashurism by Modern Assyrians) centered around the god Assur, patron deity of the city of Assur, besides Ishtar patroness of Nineveh. The Assyrians adopted Christianity during the course of the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD, the last recorded worship of Ashur dating to AD 256. However, the Assyrian religion did exist in some form until the 10th century in Harran, and into the 18th century in Mardin.

Assyrian religion was an evolution of the ancient polytheistic Sumero-Akkadian religion into henotheism, a religion based on the worship of one supreme god, but recognising the existence of others. This was represented through the gradual takeover by Ashur of the roles of other gods, and this process runs parallel with the expansionist policies of the Assyrian Empire. As the Assyrians extended their domain over other lands, they considered it important that the local peoples acknowledge the Assyrian king as the king of their lands as well. However, kingship at the time was linked very closely with the idea of divine mandate. The Assyrian king, whilst not being a god himsef, was acknowledged as the chief servant of the chief god, Ashur. In this manner, the king's authority was seen as absolute so long as the high priest reassured the peoples that the gods, or in the case of the henotheistic Assyrians, the God, was pleased with the current ruler. For the Assyrians who lived in Assur and the surrounding lands, this system was the norm. For the conquered peoples, however, it was novel, particularly to the people of smaller city-states. In time, Assur was promoted from being the local deity of Assur to the overlord of the vast Assyrian domain, with worship being conducted in his name throughout the lands of the Assyrians. With the worship of Assur across much of the Fertile Crescent, the Assyrian king could command the loyalty of his fellow servants of Assur.


The following is a list of some Assyrian deities:

  • Assur / Anshar, patron of Assur
  • Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, patroness of Nineveh
  • Adramelech
  • As Shalla, the Assyrian goddess of grain
  • Anasas, god of medicine
  • Nishraeli
  • Nisroch, god of agriculture
  • Nimrod
  • Oannes
  • Nabu
  • Samnuha
  • Kubaba