J?l? was a district located in the Hakkari region of upper Mesopotamia in modern-day Turkey. Before 1915 J?l? was home to Assyrians and as well as a minority of Kurds. There were 20 Assyrian villages in this district. The area was traditionally divided into Greater and Lesser J?l?, and Isht?zin - each with its own Malik, and consisting of a number of Assyrian villages. In the summer of 1915, during the Assyrian Genocide, J?l? was surrounded and attacked by Turkish troops and neighboring Kurdish tribes under the leadership of Agha S?t? of Oramar. It is now located in around Ye?ilta?, Yüksekova.
After a brief struggle to maintain their positions, the Assyrian citizens of J?l? were forced to flee to Salmas in Iran along with other refugees from the Hakkari highlands. Today their descendants live all over the world including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. In Syria's al-Hasakah Governorate there are two villages, Tel-Gor?n and Ab?-T?n?, established in 1935 by J?l? refugees from Iraq on the banks of the Khabur River.
The J?l? district is home to the second highest mountain range in Turkey, the Cilo-Sat range, which are an eastern extension of the Taurus Mountains. The highest peak in the Cilo-Sat range is r? Shinn? d-J?l? (also known as Cilo da, maximum elevation 4,168 m), from the summit of which one can see as far as the city of Mosul in Iraq. The southern slopes of the massif are covered with broad-leaved forests (primarily oak), and the northern slopes are covered with steppes and shrub thickets where the inhabitants of J?l? and D?z would graze their herds during the summer. Among the animals which abound in these mountains are bears, leopards, wolves, foxes, chamois, wild goats, and ovis (wild sheep), of which there are three varieties. There are also many birds, especially the large yellow partridge, and the red-legged variety. Different types of flowers can also be found.
Not much is known about J?l?'s pre-Christian history due to its inaccessibility and instability, restricting any form of fieldwork, though prehistoric rock carvings have been found in the Gevaruk valley near S and on the Tirisin Plateau. These have been dated to 10,000 years ago.
According to the Acts of Saint Mari, it was his disciple St. ?om?s who was the first to bring Christianity to the region of Gawar and Zoz?n (including J?l?) in the 1st century AD.The text also mentions that he was martyred somewhere in the Gawar plain, not far from J?l?, and that later on a church was established on his burial site. Indeed, the ancient church in the J?l? village of S (modern-day ?kiyaka) is dedicated to St. M?r?, and is the only church in the Hakkari region or northern Iraq historically known to have had been. M?r? was also the name of one of the area's earliest bishops. He was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Catholicos M?r D?d?sho? in 424 AD.
A hitherto unpublished text of the Acts of St. Mammes of Caesarea, who lived in the 3rd century AD, also credits him with having traveled to the village of Oramar (modern-day Da?l?ca) where he built a church, known today as El Ahmar Kilisesi. A church also in Oramar dedicated to his disciple St. Daniel is now the village mosque. Afterwards, St. 'Az?z? - reputedly a disciple of Mar Awgin - is credited with having arrived in J?l? during the 4th century AD, establishing a monastery in the village of Zêr?n?. The earliest surviving manuscript from the J?l? district was copied in this monastery and dates back to 1212/3.
The J?l? district is also home to one of the region's oldest churches, founded by St. Zay and his disciple St. T?wor in 427 AD. According to the Saint's vita, J?l? at that time was the center of a kingdom named J?l?m-J?l? and the church construction project was led by its king B?laq son of King Z?raq. This church for many centuries was the cathedral of the M?r Sarg?s Metropolitan Bishops of J?l?. Most J?l?'s ancient churches are still standing, despite having been abandoned and in a state of decay for nearly a century.
The J?l? district was also important in the history of the Church of the East from an early period. At the synod of Catholicos M?r Isaac in 410 AD Beth-Bgh?sh, located in the J?l? village of Bé-Baghshé, was confirmed as a suffragan diocese of the ecclesiastical province of Adiabene. The future Catholicos-Patriarch Timothy I, an influential figure in the Church of the East's missionary movement, became bishop of Beth-Bgh?sh c.770 AD, upon the retirement of his elderly uncle G?warg?s, and remained in the diocese until his election as Catholicos-Patriarch in 780 AD. Although a native of Hazzah near Arbil, his family is traditionally held to have originated from J?l?. The last historical mention of the diocese of Beth-Bgh?sh is at the consecration of the Catholicos-Patriarch Denha I at Baghdad in 1265, which was attended by its bishop Isho?-Zkh?.
In 1448 the J?l? district was ravaged by the Qara Qoyunlu and many of its villages lay abandoned for over a century. This is probably the reason why the colophon of a manuscript copied in 1490 at Bé-Silim in the Baz district mentions only the metropolitan of Mosul. Normally, Baz would have been included in either the diocese of Beth-Bgh?sh or J?l?.
Most of the refugees from J?l? fled to Assyrian districts in neighboring Iran. Evidence for this appears in the inclusion of J?l? in the title of the metropolitan of Salamas around 1552, and the copying of a manuscript in the village of Naze north of Urmia in 1563 by the priest Paul of Oramar. Additionally, many Chaldean families in the Urmia region trace their ancestry to settlers originally from J?l?. Among the most well known are the Malek-Yonan family of Geogtapa, who are descended from a J?l? chieftain who founded the village in the 16th century. He also built a church there dedicated to St. Zay which he set with stones brought from the original church in J?l?.
Later in the 16th century, many inhabitants from J?l? returned to rebuild their homes and churches. Those of Zêr?n? found the church of St. 'Az?z? in ruins and, after rebuilding it, they acquired a text of the saint's legend from the town of Bakhdida in the Nineveh plains. In the village of Nahr? the returnees found that they had forgotten how to work its six important water-powered mills which were utilized by the inhabitants of all the villages of J?l?. Because of this, they were forced to seek the assistance of a man named Y?wél? (Y?hw-All?h?) and his two sons Bill? and L?chin from the village of Bé-Nahré in the Rumt? sub-district of Upper Tyare, who were well-versed in the operation of such mills. After this, the Chaldeans of J?l? were largely left alone, allowing them to once again prosper and grow in influence among Hakkâri's independent Assyrian tribes.
Since the 16th century, and probably even earlier, the village of M?t? d-?Umr? d-M?r Zay was the seat of a metropolitan bishop of the Church of the East. The diocese of this metropolitan bishop included the Hakkari districts of J?l?, Baz, Tkhuma, Ch?l (modern-day Çukurca), l, and Rék?n.
The first historical mention of the diocese of J?l? is from 1580, when the metropolitan of J?l?, Siirt and Salamas, was elevated to the patriarchate of the Chaldean Catholic Church as M?r Shim'on IX Dinha (1580-1600). That year the new patriarch consecrated a metropolitan for J?l? named M?r Sarg?s, who was among the signatories of a letter from him to Pope Gregory XIII, and he is probably the same as the Metropolitan M?r Sarg?s of J?l? mentioned in hierarchies listed in the reports of 1607 and 1610 sent by Catholic patriarch M?r Shim'on X Eliy? (1600-1638) to Pope Paul V.
In 1610 also, the large village of S is recorded as being the residence of bishop named M?r G?warg?s, who was probably a suffragan of M?r Sarg?s. The report of 1610 also mentioned that the Malik of J?l? was named David, and he commanded 4,000 fighting men; the Malik of Isht?zin was named 'Caitar', and he was in charge of 500 fighters; and S was led by a man named 'Chartus', probably also a Malik, who in his turn commanded 300 fighters.
In the late 17th century the diocese severed its ties with Catholicism, along with the rest of the Qudsh?nis patriarchate, and returned to being traditionalist. The metropolitan bishops of J?l? were usually nominated from the same clan and all bore the hereditary title M?r Sarg?s. An exception to this appears to have been the patriarch M?r Shim'on XV Michael Mukhattas (1740-1780), who is said to have been metropolitan of J?l? before being elevated to the patriarchate and, indeed, the Cathedral of Sts. Zay and T?wor is commonly held to have served at certain times as the residence of the patriarchs of that line.
It is during this period that a new line of bishops belonging to the same clan as the metropolitans of J?l?, Bé-Yagm?l?, was established at the village of G?gawran (modern-day Aksu) in the nearby G?w?r plain. These distant blood-relatives, who took the name M?r Sl?v?, probably began as suffragans of M?r Sarg?s and are first mentioned in a manuscript colophon from 1743.
Nineteenth-century bishop M?r Yawsip Sarg?s was described by Sir Austen Henry Layard, who met him at the village of Nahr? in late August 1849, as "... a young man of lofty stature and handsome countenance..." and likened his look to that of a hunter or warrior.
This bishop was approached by the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1890 and 1895, but on both occasions he refused to convert to Catholicism. It is around this time that the inhabitants of the large and isolated village of S converted to the Catholicism in their entirety.
|M?r Yawsip Sarg?s||1819, M?t? d-?Umr? d-M?r Zay||1839, Qudsh?nis||1899, M?t? d-?Umr? d-M?r Zay|
|M?r Zay Sarg?s||29 July 1888, M?t? d-?Umr? d-M?r Zay||5 July 1900, Qudsh?nis||12 May 1951, Baghdad|
|M?r ?sho? Sarg?s||1911, M?t? d-?Umr? d-M?r Zay||14 May 1951, Baghdad||19 December 1966, London (buried at St. Zay Cathedral in Karr?dat Maryam, Baghdad)|
|Mar Yawsip Sargis||1950 Baghdad||2 March 1967, Baghdad||Currently residing in Modesto, California|
The last of these metropolitan bishops to reside at M?t? d-M?r Zay was M?r Zay Sarg?s, who was consecrated at 11 years of age. During the Assyrian Genocide the bishop moved to the Salamas district between 1915 and 1918, then remained at the Baqubah refugee camp between 1918 and 1920, before moving to Mosul in 1920. From 1921 onward his see was fixed at the village of Khirshéniyah, immediately to the northwest of Alqosh in the Dohuk Governorate, where a small church was built dedicated to St. Zay. Then in 1941 his see was moved to Baghdad, where a large J?l? émigré community existed at Camp al-Sikak (the "Railroads Camp") with a mud-brick church dedicated to St. Zay built in the 1920s.
After the Iraqi revolution in 1958, a new Cathedral dedicated to St. Zay was built at Karr?dat Maryam, with large contributions in money and in kind from J?l? entrepreneurs Lira and Supar. On 24 June 1959 the new cathedral was dedicated by Metropolitan Mar Yawsip Khnanishu and Bishop M?r ?sho? Sarg?s. This dedication was marked by the attendance of high-profile officials, among them the new Iraqi president Abd al-Karim Qasim, as well as other religious leaders.
In the mid-1980s the cathedral was appropriated by the Iraqi government, which planned to turn the surrounding area into a restricted area. In return, a parcel of land was given in the Mechanics' quarter (Hayy al-M?k?n?k) of Dora, Baghdad. A new cathedral was built there and dedicated in 1986, forming the only parish of the "diocese of Baghdad" to which the current bishop from this line, Mar Yawsip Sargis, was assigned. In 2002 the bishop left for the United States and has since been unable to return to his diocese. He currently resides in exile at Modesto, California. For many years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq the cathedral in Baghdad was closed, reopening in 2009. With the death of the resident parish priest in 2011, the cathedral is no longer used for regular worship.
According to Lalayan (Assyrians of the Van District, 1914), there was an oral legend concerning the origins and history of the Maliks of Greater J?l?. The tradition is probably full of historical errors, but must have some element of truth to it.
It narrates that a man named Mand?, from the clan of "Nebuchadnezzar," for some unknown reason set out from the city of ?thor (Mosul), traveling in the company of his four brothers: B?rut, Yôsip, B?kus and Issé. Mand? had promised that he would settle in a place where they could feed him the head and shanks of a sheep (a dish called p?ch?). After a long journey Mand? and his brothers arrived at a place named P?ch?, where a poor man fed them p?ch?. Mand? observed that he had reached his destination and decided to stay there and become the head of that district. He chose a good place, later known as Z?r?n?sh (Zêr?n?), just opposite from P?ch?. There he built a house for himself.
One day as Mand? was walking in the forest, he saw four birds but did not know from where they had come. He also saw a black stone, and nearby, a locked church. In his dream that night he saw the key to the church and a candelabra buried under the black stone. The next morning he went and found the key under the black stone, opened the church and entered it to pray. From that day that church became a place for worship for all the residents of the village. One day, as Mand? was walking according to his habit, he saw a large cave filled with human bones. He inquired and was told that some people had escaped from the Persians and had hidden themselves in this cave. The Persians found the cave and lit a fire before its entry, killing those inside it.
Around the village there used to live some pagans who Mand? converted to Christianity, killing those who refused to. Mand? did not molest those from four well-known families though, and ordered them to go and live in a nearby village. They went as ordered and their descendants still remained for some time but did not increase. Each had remained one family only. Descendants of Malik Mand? became Maliks of Greater J?l?, and also took the name of Mand?.
The same tradition recounts that during the reign of one of the Maliks, the Mar Shim'on (Catholicos-Patriarch of the Church of the East) fled from ?thor (Mosul) and sought refuge in Alqosh. The Persians then came and conquered the area and took M?r Shim'on to Persia, permitting him to live in the town of Ushn?, where he settled as a refugee and built a large cathedral. After a while Malik Mand? is said to have freed M?r Shim'on from the Persians and brought him to Zêr?n?. For 60 years after that time the M?r Shim'ons lived in Zêr?n?. The grave of one of them was even said to be located in the village cemetery. It is not clear why they left Zêr?n? and settled in the village of Tirqônis, and later in Qudsh?nis, which was given to them as a gift by Malik Mand?. They did not stay long in Qudsh?nis either because the village was near Julamerk, and prone to the raids of its Kurdish Emir (prince).
He was therefore obliged to move to the district of D?zan. Malik Mand? was not pleased that M?r Shim'on had left Qudsh?nis. He conferred with the Kurdish Emir of Julamerk on how he could return M?r Shim'on to Qudsh?nis. He went to D?zan and burned M?r Shim'on's residence near the village of Rabb?n D?d-?sho'. Later they collected money and built a new one for him in Qudsh?nis, and invited him to live in it. In this manner M?r Shim'on was made to accept the invitation to go and settle in Qudsh?nis.
It continues to tell that the 'throne' of Malik Mand? was inherited by Malik Ahron. He attacked the Kurdish castle of Khirw?t (modern-day Hirvata near the Gawar Plain), took it and destroyed it. It was a great victory. Malik Ahron was followed by another who took the name Mand?. He also, like former Maliks, was a man of war. When there was a conflict with Malik Khubyar of B?z, he attacked the district and killed a number of its inhabitants. Malik Mand? was followed by Malik Sulaym?n and during his reign the Ottoman Government thought it was necessary to post its representatives in those parts. The Government appointed a local Rayyis (Chief) each in Julamerk, Gawar, and Shamdinan (Shamsdin). These Chiefs tried in every way to prevent fighting between the various tribes in the area. Therefore, Malik Sulaym?n and Malik Shlëmun who followed him, both had kept peace among the other tribes.
Malik Shlëmun was followed by Malik Ward?. It was said that he was bribed by the Kurdish chief of Oramar, not to aid the Assyrian tribes of D?zan, ?y?ré, Tkh?m? when they were attacked by Kurdish Emir Badr Kh?n Beg of Bohtan and his allies. During the massacres of Badr Khan the Kurds attacked, plundered, killed and stole their cattle, but Malik Ward? did not interfere to defend the Assyrian tribes. Malik ?sh?, who followed Malik Ward?, attacked the Assyrian Tkhuma Tribe and took away 2,000 head of sheep. After that the tribe of D?zan attacked Tkh?m?, occupied the lands of Qar?s?, and put their own cattle in their planted fields. Malik ?sh? attacked the D?zan tribe, and took their cattle. He then controlled their fields and collected their farming produce for himself.
Malik ?sh? was followed by Malik Mirz?. Nothing is known about this Malik. During the time of Malik Kh?lil who followed Malik Mirz?, Kurdish tribes attacked J?l? tribes and stole 2,000 head of sheep. Malik Kh?lil complained to the Ottoman government, later taking 400 strongmen from his tribe and 40 Turkish soldiers to attack the Kurdish chief of Oramar. He was forced to pay Malik Kh?lil 200 Liras, 682 sheep, seven mules, four cows, and some carpets and other things. Afterwards, in 1909 Malik Kh?lil traveled to Europe to collect money. He was dressed in his native clothes and was introduced into the presence of Pope Pius X. He explained to the Pope that he was Malik of J?l? and added that there was no education in his country and requested Pope's permission to collect money to open schools.
The Pope gave his permission and in a short time he collected 18,000 Vatican Liras and returned home where he began to build a school building. He again went back to Europe to collect money. It appeared that he was impersonating a Catholic monk in his travels in Germany. As Lalayan had learned from a German Consul he knew, the German Government arrested Malik Kh?lil since they suspected him of fraud, i.e. collecting money for himself in the name of the Church, and he had requested the Consul to introduce him personally to German Government!
Lalayan (Assyrians of the Van District, 1914), also recounts the oral legend concerning the origins and history of the Maliks of Lesser J?l?. It narrates that Malik Z?m?, considered the head of his clan, along with his brother Bayrijjé and their relatives, had come from the village of ?irn?kh?r in the Boht?n region and settled in the village of ?el?n? in Greater J?l?. They had been exiled from their former homes by Kurds. Several Maliks inherited his position. One of the Maliks made strong kinship ties with one of the well-known families of ?el?n? by giving his daughter in marriage to one of their sons. It is not known when they settled in Z?r. From this clan was born a strongman named Aro, who later brought ?el?n? under his rule, and assumed the title and authority of Malik. He was succeeded by his son Malik Gewarg?s, and then his grandson Malik Khamm?, of whom nothing particular is known.
The J?l? dialect is one of the most distinct Neo-Aramaic dialects of Southeastern Turkey. It falls under the Northern Assyrian Neo-Aramaic group, (similar to the Baz, Diz, and Gawar dialects). The vowel in "tora" (cow) is diphthongized to "tawra". It also includes some elements of Turkish and Kurdish vocabulary and grammar. The most recent study of this dialect was published by Samuel Ethan Fox in 1997 (The Neo-Aramaic dialect of Jilu, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag). There are also sub-dialects within the J?l? dialect, some with their own distinct pronunciation or verb conjugations. The J?l? Assyrians read Assyrian Standard based literature and read and write in Assyrian Standard. Most can switch back and forth from J?l? to Assyrian Standard or Iraqi Koine when conversing with Assyrian speakers of other dialects.
|English||Assyrian Standard||J?l? Koine|
|To go||brikhsh? or bikh?sh?||biz?l?|
|Plenty||r?ba||reba or riba|
|Pillow||barisht? or sp?d?t?||sp?diya|
|Sit on the floor||t? l-ar'?||t?llèr?|
|My Paternal Uncle||m?m?n?||?môy|
|I will see you (to female)||b-khazzinnakh||b-kh?zn?nakh|
|I will see you (to male)||b-khazzinnukh||b-kh?zn?n?|
|I want (male)||ki-bayyin||?-bânâ|
|I want (female)||ki-bayyan||?-bâyan|
|For||q?||?l? or ?l?|
|Offering / Sacrifice||qurb?n?||?urb?n?|
|Drink! (imperative) (plural)||shteym?n||shtôm?|
The J?l? dialect is said to "soften" sounds in Assyrian standard Neo-Aramaic vocabulary (e.g. a softer "k" sound replaces the "qoph" sound in qurb?n? (like the "q" in Qatar) and becomes "?urb?n?", see above table).
J?l? Chaldeans, especially those originating from M?t? d-M?r Zay (Bné-Má), pronounce their "?"'s as "é" when speaking, e.g. k?b?bé (kebabs) becomes "kébébè".[needs IPA]
|English||Assyrian Standard||J?l? Koine||J?l? (Bné-Má)|
There are also variances in the way verbs are conjugated in the J?l? dialect.
Some speakers tend to adopt a form of verb conjugation that is closer to the Assyrian Standard, this may be considered the Koine J?l? because it is the most widely used.
The Koine J?l? may be attributed to the growing exposure to Assyrian Standard-based literature, media, and its use as a liturgical language by the Assyrian Church of the East. The J?l? Koine may also be attributed to the social exposure of the J?l? to Chaldeans of other tribes, and especially to those speaking the Urmian dialect. The majority of J?l? Koine speakers are from Iraq or descendants of J?l? Chaldeans from Iraq. J?l? Chaldeans from Syria tend to have a verb conjugation system that is similar to the J?l? Koine but further from the Assyrian Standard. Their sub-dialects originate mostly from the Greater J?l? villages of Nahr?, Al?an and M?t? d-M?r Zay (settled in Tell-Gor?n), as well as Z?r in Lesser J?l? and Isht?zin (settled in Ab?-T?n?). Thy also employ vocabulary and terms that are foreign to J?l? Koine speakers from Iraq, e.g. "ténowwè" (speaking) instead of the usual "b-humzômè" in Iraqi J?l? Koine. Some speakers of the J?l? dialect from Syria claim that their way of speaking is purer than that of the Iraqi speakers. It is certain that many Iraqi J?l? speakers consider the dialect of those from Syria to be more archaic. This is because they have remained in two adjacent rural settlements until this day and are relatively isolated from other Assyrian groups.
|English||Assyrian Standard||J?l? Koine|
|What is the matter with you (plural)?||m?lôkhun?||malkh|